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(6th LD) Daughter of woman at center of S. Korea's political scandal arrested in Denmark

All Headlines 02:22 January 03, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with Danish court extending Chung's detention; ADDS to dateline)
By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL/AALBORG, Demark, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- The daughter of President Park Geun-hye's close friend, who is at the heart of an influence-peddling scandal that has led to the president's impeachment, has been arrested in Denmark, police said Monday.

According to the National Police Agency, law enforcement authorities in the European country notified their South Korean counterparts that Chung Yoo-ra was arrested in the northern Danish city of Aalborg on Sunday on charges of illegal stay.

Chung, a former member of the national equestrian team, is suspected of receiving undue favors from Seoul-based Ewha Womans University regarding admission and academic affairs by taking advantage of her mother's ties to the president.

Special prosecutors looking into the corruption scandal surrounding President Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil had requested that Interpol put Choi's daughter on the wanted list after she declined to respond to the investigation team's repeated summons.

"Danish Police of Northern Jutland received the information from a Korean journalist that a woman wanted by the police for extensive financial economic crime in South Korea was staying at a certain address in the south-eastern part of Aalborg, Denmark," Danish police said in a press release. "Interpol has confirmed that an international search request concerning this woman had been received from the South Korean authorities on 27 December 2016."

They said no further steps have been made apart from the arrest.

"The North Jutland police force is in dialogue with the Director of Public Prosecutions who awaits final request of extradition from the South Korean authorities," they added.

The Seoul investigation team said it is collaborating with the relevant bodies to bring Chung to South Korea.

The justice ministry said it has submitted an extradition request to the National Police Agency to swiftly get Chung back home.

As of around 7:30 p.m. on Monday, the National Policy Agency said it has delivered the extradition request to Danish authorities via Interpol.

Chung was brought before the court in Denmark on Monday with a police request for her detention until the time when the issue of extradition can be addressed, Danish police said.

The court granted the request and decided to extend Chung's detention by four weeks until Jan. 30.

Chung's lawyer said he would appeal the decision.

Chung was quoted as saying Monday that she would voluntarily return to South Korea if she is allowed to stay with her child.

Officials in Seoul also said that Chung has expressed her intention of not rejecting the procedure of an extradition and voluntarily returning home if South Korean special prosecutors question her without detention.

Chung's legal adviser delivered her intention to the special prosecution team, according to sources at the prosecution team and the justice ministry.

Also on Monday, Song Kwang-yong, former senior presidential secretary for education and culture, was grilled by special prosecutors over suspicions the presidential office created a "blacklist" of cultural figures who are deemed critical of the government.

The investigation team has been intensifying its probe into the blacklist, summoning a number of former presidential aides and government officials.

(6th LD) Daughter of woman at center of S. Korea's political scandal arrested in Denmark - 1


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