The special prosecution office of South Korea on Tuesday (10 January) said that it remained undecided on whether to seek arrest warrants for two executives of the Samsung Group as part of the wider investigation into the political scandal that allegedly involves the country's president, Park Geun-hye.

Earlier, it was reported that the prosecution would arrest Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-ki. But, later the prosecutors' office told Reuters news agency that the executives, who were summoned on Monday for interrogation, were considered witnesses.

The two Samsung administrators were questioned by the officials to find out whether their firms paid bribes to get the country's national pension fund National Pension Service (NPS) to approve a controversial merger between two Samsung affiliates. The tie-up was criticised widely as it is said to have boosted the founder family's control of the group at the cost of other shareholders.

The development comes after Constitutional Court of the country started Park's impeachment trial on 3 January.

The president was indicted over a political scandal in which she is accused of allowing her friend, Choi Soon-sil, to access government documents without authorisation. The allegations against her also stated that she had extracted large sums of money from the country's top conglomerates with the aim of benefiting Choi.

Park, who was impeached on 9 December after 234 lawmakers voted against her, could become the nation's first democratically elected leader to leave the office early in shame if the court found her guilty. The Constitutional Court has 180 days to decide to either uphold or overturn the impeachment vote.

 Samsung Electronics
A flag bearing the logo of Samsung Electronics is pictured at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji