June 02, 2017 10:58
Prosecutors sought an arrest warrant early Friday for Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of ex-President Park Geun-hye's confidante Choi Soon-sil who is thought to have been a major beneficiary of her mother's slush funds.
The immediate charges are wrangling illegal favors from Ewha Womans University by trading on her mother's connections.
Chung was admitted under a last-minute rule change for equestrians despite missing most of her final year in high school and then given passing grades despite attending no classes.
But the main reason for the arrest warrant is that prosecutors want to quiz her about her role in her mother's and Park's alleged extortion racket, and the warrant would allow them to hold her for 20 days before charges have to be filed.
Chung has pleaded ignorance, telling reporters on return to Korea on Wednesday, "They say I received all kinds of benefits, but I really don't know very much."
She claimed she did not even know what her major at Ewha was, but prosecutors cite a Facebook comment where she seems to be sneering at applicants who failed to gain admission to the prestigious university because they lacked "connections."
They also say she visited Ewha with her mother to meet then university president Choi Kyung-hee, who has resigned over the scandal, and other professors to listen to advice on how to gain credits without attending classes.
Chung also faces charges of submitting false documents to her high school from the Korea Equestrian Federation to make it appear as if she had to miss school due to various volunteer activities and athletic training.
A prosecutor said, "Chung was at least aware that such acts were illegal and if she knew that, we can charge her with being an accomplice to her mother's wrongdoings."
Prosecutors mainly want to know how much Chung knew about a W7.8 billion bribe from Samsung in the guise of support for her equestrian training, and whether she voluntarily took part in her mother's schemes to launder the slush fund overseas (US$1=W1,123).
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