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(LEAD) Danish court extends detention of daughter of woman at center of Korean scandal

2017/02/22 18:09

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 7-8)

AALBORG, Denmark, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- A Danish court on Wednesday decided to extend the detention of the daughter of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's close friend at the center of a high-profile corruption scandal.

Chung Yoo-ra, 21, has been in the custody of Danish authorities since she was arrested in this northern city of Aalborg last month. She is under suspicions of receiving undue favors in admission to Seoul-based Ewha Womans University and other academic affairs based on her mother Choi Soon-sil's ties to the president.

The court has decided to further detain Chung until March 22 while the prosecution reviews whether to accept an extradition request made by South Korean authorities. It is the third time the court has ruled in favor of the prosecution's request for an extension since Chung was arrested.

South Korean special prosecutors team, led by Independent Counsel Park Young-soo, has asked Denmark to send Chung to Seoul for a questioning on a series of alleged wrongdoings in connection to the influence-peddling scandal.

The Danish prosecution was expected to deliver a decision by Wednesday, but it said it needs more time to review the documents handed over from the South Korean investigation team.

The 21-year-old has so far refused to voluntarily return home to face a probe.

Following the court's decision, she is likely to avoid the investigation's deadline of Tuesday. The team has asked Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn to extend the period for a month, but it is unclear whether he will approve the request.

Even if the Danish prosecution decides to repatriate Chung in the near future, she is expected to take the case to court.

Chung's mother Choi, whose alleged wrongdoings led to President Park's impeachment late last year, is currently standing trial over allegations she meddled in state affairs and amassed profits using her ties to the president.

The president is awaiting the Constitutional Court's decision on her impeachment.

Special prosecutors are also looking into whether South Korea's Samsung Group supported Chung's equestrian training in return for the government's backing of its controversial merger of two affiliates in 2015.

The Seoul Central District Court on Friday issued a warrant to formally arrest Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of the conglomerate, over suspicions on a string of charges, including bribery and embezzlement.

This file photo, taken from a clip on YouTube on Jan. 3, 2017, shows Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil at the center of a corruption scandal that has led to South Korean President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, holding an interview with Korean reporters at a court in the northern Danish city of Aalborg. (Yonhap) This file photo, taken from a clip on YouTube on Jan. 3, 2017, shows Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil at the center of a corruption scandal that has led to South Korean President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, holding an interview with Korean reporters at a court in the northern Danish city of Aalborg. (Yonhap)

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