Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of the scandal-ridden presidential confidante Choi Soon-sil, on Friday said that she would not return back home, where she has been summoned to face intense questioning over the extensive influence-peddling scandal pivoting on her mother.
Her change of stance, which means that she would rather stay in her current custody in Denmark, is likely to cause a setback for the ongoing special investigation here as her repatriation may drag on for months.
Chung, who was arrested in the northern Danish city of Aalborg on Sunday and has been in custody with local authorities since, withdrew her earlier offer to voluntarily return to Korea on condition of being able to stay with her infant son, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday, quoting her acquaintances.
“I will fly back home immediately, if only (the prosecutors) would let me stay with my son, be it in a child care institution, welfare organization or hospital,” she told reporters at a local court hearing to judge her petition for the termination of her confinement.
The Danish Court, however, turned down her request for liberation and the South Korean special investigative team led by independent counsel Park Young-soo refused to make compromises on her detention, saying Chung was a suspect in the given case.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry made an official request to the Danish government to repatriate Chung according to procedures.
Chung's acquaintances speculated her encounter with her 19-month son on the previous night might have led her to change her mind and seek to prolong her stay in the European state, instead of facing obvious arrest in her home country.
Should the Danish police decide on expatriation, Chung is likely to file a petition to the local court, in which case the legal judgment could take several months.
The 20-year-old former equestrian stands at the center of an extensive corruption scandal involving her mother, as Chung was the beneficiary of the massive funds her mother allegedly coerced from conglomerates using her ties with President Park Geun-hye.
She was also one of the triggering factors of the entire scandal, as the consequences came to light upon protests on suspicions her mother had exerted influence on Ewha Woman’s University in order to have her academically underachieving daughter accepted to the prestigious school.
The disputed nongovernmental presidential aide Choi, who was arrested late last year, has repeatedly expressed concerns over the whereabouts of her daughter.
The two, however, are said to have been estranged from one another, stemming from disputes regarding Chung’s premarital pregnancy.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|A screenshot from JTBC shows Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of President Park Geun-hye's longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, being arrested in Denmark on Sunday. Yonhap|