The independent counsel spokesperson said Thursday that the team has filed for a 30-day extension of its original 90-day investigative mandate.
By law, the request for an extension must be made at least three days prior to the deadline but can also be made earlier.
It will now be up to Hwang Kyo-ahn, the prime minister and the acting president, to decide whether to grant the one-time extension.
"Unlike previous investigations, this one has so many more people and branches. (We're making the request now because) it won't be possible to complete the investigation by the 28th, and the acting president will need time to review the request before making any decisions."
Shortly after the spokesperson had finished the briefing, the team came up against another obstacle, after the Seoul Administrative Court rejected its request to override the presidential office and let it search the premises.
The decision makes it impossible to force a search on the presidential office.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Central District Court is deliberating over whether to grant the team's request for a second warrant to arrest Lee Jae-yong, the heir apparent of Samsung Group
"Regarding the request for a second arrest warrant, I'm just going to say the independent counsel has made sufficient preparations in advance."
In filing for the warrant on Tuesday, the counsel expanded the charges against Lee to include diverting assets overseas and concealing the gains from a criminal act.
That's on top of the original charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury the team filed against Lee with its first arrest warrant request that was rejected last month.
"The fate of the Samsung chief -- whether he will return home as a free man or be forced to remain in detention -- is expected to be decided on Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Hwang Hojun, Arirang News."