SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ ANN) - Key witness to Park-Choi scandal would rather not testify.
Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of the scandal-ridden presidential confidante Choi Soon-sil, on Friday said that she will not return back to South Korea, where she is 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 probe as her repatriation may drag on for months.
The fugitive Chung, who was arrested in Denmark on Sunday local time and has been in custody of local authorities ever since, recently withdrew her earlier offer to voluntarily return to Korea, on condition of letting her stay with her infant son, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday, quoting her acquaintances.
“I will fly back home immediately, if only (prosecutors) would let me stay with my son, be it in a childcare institution, welfare organization or hospital,” she told reporters at a local court hearing to judge her petition for the termination of her confinement.
The Dannish Court, however, turned down her request and the South Korean special probe team led by independent counsel Park Young-soo dismissed her calls for compromise, pointing out that Chung was clearly a suspect in the given case.
Her acquaintances speculated that Chung’s encounter with her 19-month son on the previous night might have led to her change of mind.
Should the Danish police decide on expatriation, the arrested Chung may file a petition to the local court, resisting the South Korean government’s summoning for as long as possible.
The 20-year-old former equestrian stands at the center of the extensive corruption scandal involving her mother, as she was the beneficiary of the massive funds which her mother allegedly coerced from conglomerates by using her ties with President Park Geun-hye.
She was also one of the triggering factors of the entire scandal, as the consequences came into light upon protests on the suspicions that her mother had exerted influence on Ewha Woman’s University in order to have her academically underachieved daughter accepted in the prestigious school.
The disputed presidential aide Choi, who was arrested late last year, repeatedly expressed concerns over the whereabouts of her daughter.
The two, however, are said to have estranged from each other, following disputes on Chung’s premarital childbirth.