Friday, September 30, 2022

Daughter of ousted South Korean president's confidante returns to Seoul

Daughter of ousted South Korean president's confidante returns to Seoul

SEOUL - The daughter of a key figure in a corruption scandal that led to the ouster of ex-South Korean president Park Geun-hye is expected to arrive in South Korea on Wednesday from Denmark where she had been fighting extradition on criminal charges

Chung Yoo-ra, 20, is expected to be taken by prosecutors from Incheon International Airport for questioning when she lands. She fled to Europe last year to avoid being prosecuted by authorities for charges linked to her mother, Choi Soon-sil.

Chung unexpectedly dropped her extradition appeal last week.

She was arrested by South Korean prosecutors aboard a Korean Air Lines flight en route to Incheon, according to Yonhap News Agency. Danish authorities had arrested Chung in January this year and her extradition was made final last week.

Her mother Choi is currently in a detention centre, undergoing trial on charges of extortion, abuse of power, and attempted fraud to extort millions of dollars from big companies, including Samsung Electronics in hand with South Korea's ex-leader Park, who is her long-time friend. The three women have denied all wrongdoing.

A payment by the Samsung Group to a firm controlled by Choi and used to back Chung's equestrian career is considered a bribe by prosecutors. Chung won a gold medal in group dressage at the 2014 Asian Games.

In return, prosecutors have alleged Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee received political favours and government support for a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015, which helped Lee cement his control of the group after the hospitalisation of his father, former Samsung Group chief Lee Kun-hee.

Lee, held in detention and on a separate trial, has also denied charges.

Chung faces charges that include criminal interference related to her academic record and acceptance into a competitive women's university with questionable qualifications. She was also suspected of having received passing grades at the school with plagiarised reports and despite poor class attendance.

Her entrance to the school and high school diploma were subsequently cancelled after authorities found Chung's high school attendance and test grades had been fabricated, sparking public furore.

Prosecutors are expected to seek a warrant to keep Chung in a holding cell as they can only detain her for 48 hours following the emergency arrest that was carried out on Wednesday. -Reuters