World Bulletin / News Desk
German prosecutors are being dragged into Seoul’s presidential office scandal, as South Korean investigators revealed Wednesday they have secured a warrant to arrest the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, Chung Yoo-ra, who is believed to have fled to Europe with her mother in September.
Choi appeared in court Monday over her alleged role in secretly influencing state affairs and other claims of power abuse for personal gain -- the woman described as now impeached President Park Geun-hye’s secret confidante returned from Germany in October to face a state investigation, which has grown into an independent probe.
Investigators are seeking to invalidate Chung’s passport while asking for support from German officials in order to detain her, according to local news agency Yonhap.
The 20-year-old has been closely scrutinized by the media for weeks.
Earlier this month, Seoul’s education office annulled her high school diploma due to faked grades and attendance records -- that was after the education ministry told the prestigious Ewha Womans University to cancel Chung’s apparently unfair admission.
It has been quite a fall from grace for a girl who won a gold medal as an equestrian athlete at the 2014 Asian Games.
Chung’s privileges, it turns out, extended to being heavily backed by Samsung Group -- also the biggest donator in a suspected influence-peddling scam involving the president, Choi and numerous aides.
As independent investigators officially began their efforts Wednesday, they raided South Korea’s pension service to look into why it backed a merger of Samsung affiliates last year.
“I will try to carry out a fair and balanced investigation,” Counsel Park Young-soo said at a ceremony to open an initial 70-day probe.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court is set to hold a first preparatory hearing for Park’s impeachment case this Thursday afternoon.