South Korea prosecutor says Samsung's Lee paid bribes to Park's friend

Jay Y. Lee, Samsung Electronics' vice chairman and the only son of Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, makes a public apology over the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) at Samsung Medical Center, at the company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s special prosecutor’s office said on Monday that Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee had paid bribes totaling 43 billion won ($36.42 million) to Choi Soon-sil, the friend of President Park Geun-hye at the center of an escalating corruption scandal.

The prosecutor’s office said on Monday it will seek a warrant to arrest Lee on charges of bribery and embezzlement.

Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told journalists that arrest warrants would not be sought for three other Samsung executives questioned during the investigation.

($1 = 1,180.5300 won)

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Writing by Christine Kim; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore