Choi Soon-sil's Daughter Pleads Ignorance

  • By Kim A-sa, Park Sang-ki

    June 01, 2017 09:42

    The daughter of ex-President Park Geun-hye's confidante Choi Soon-sil returned to Korea on Wednesday after being extradited from Denmark but told reporters she is completely innocent.

    Chung Yoo-ra was immediately taken in for questioning, and prosecutors plan to seek an arrest warrant for her in connection with alleged influence-peddling and corruption by her mother and Park.

    Chung Yoo-ra (in handcuffs) arrives at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday. She was arrested as soon as she transited to a Korean Air flight at Copenhagen Airport in Denmark on Tuesday. /Newsis

    Confronted by a sea of microphones at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, Chung said, "I think I was wrongly accused. I don't know what happened between my mother and former President Park."

    Asked why she finally dropped her appeal against extradition from Denmark, she said, "I thought it would be better to come back to Korea and solve the misunderstanding as my baby was alone for too long." Chung is a single mother.

    Regarding the allegations that she received illegal favors in admission to Ewha Womans University due to her mother's ties to Park, she said, "They say I received all kinds of benefits, but I really don't know very much... I am still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and some of them don't connect."

    Chung Yoo-ra answers questions from reporters at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday. /Newsis

    Chung, who is believed to have been a major beneficiary of her mother's vast slush funds, had been living in Germany since August of last year.

    She was granted preferential admission to the prestigious university despite missing almost her whole final year in high school and given passing grades despite failing to attend classes. The ensuing investigation resulted in the resignation of the university president and Chung's expulsion.

    "I accept the cancellation of my admission to the school because I didn't go there. I don't even know what my major was. I never wanted to go to university," Chung said.

    She declined to answer questions about when her infant son, who is staying with a nanny in Denmark, will return to Korea.

    Regarding allegations that she took huge amounts of money her mother extorted from Samsung, ostensibly for her equestrian training, Chung said, "I was told I was one of six equestrians who were sponsored by Samsung, so I thought it was like that."

    The family lawyer, Lee Kyung-jae, told reporters that prosecutors will have a "tough time" proving any irregularities in her admission to Ewha, not to mention her involvement in extorting the money from conglomerates.

    Chung was taken to the same remand prison in southern Seoul where her mother is being held. But prosecutors said they intend to make sure they do not contact each other.

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