South Korea Scandal: Daughter of Park Geun-hye's Friend Arrested in Denmark

Image: Chung Yoo-ra
Chung Yoo-ra competes during the equestrian dressage team competition for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014.AP

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/ Source: Reuters

The equestrian champion daughter of a friend of scandal-plagued South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been arrested in Denmark, police and prosecutors said Monday.

South Korean authorities had been seeking the arrest of Choi Soon-sil's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, for her ties to an influence-peddling scandal which has paralyzed Park's government and lead to weekly mass protests in Seoul.

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Chung, a former member of the national equestrian team who trained in Germany, was arrested for staying illegally in the northern Danish city of Aalborg, South Korean police said.

Chung Yoo-ra competes during the equestrian dressage team competition for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014.AP

South Korea had asked Interpol to search for Chung because she didn't return home to answer questions about the scandal.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the 20-year-old Chung allegedly took advantage of her mother's relationship with Park to get unwarranted favors from Seoul's Ewha Womans University.

Three other adults and a child were with Chung Yoo-ra when she was arrested on Sunday after a tip-off from a South Korean journalist. Danish authorities are waiting for an extradition request from South Korea, they said Monday.

Park, 64, could become South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced to leave office early after parliament voted to impeach her on Dec. 9. That decision must be confirmed or overturned by the Constitutional Court.

Chung faces several charges in South Korea, where authorities have been working to invalidate her passport. They had asked German prosecutors for information about her whereabouts and financial assets.

Chung won a gold medal in the group dressage equestrian event at the 2014 Asian Games.

She became a figure of public ire in South Korea last year after it emerged that she had received special treatment from the prestigious Ewha Womans University, where her admission was subsequently canceled.

News of Chung's arrest came a day after Park broke a month-long silence over her alleged role in the corruption scandal, publicly denying charges of wrongdoing and describing the accusations against her as fabricated and false.

Associated Press contributed.