SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – German prosecutors said Thursday they are ready to cooperate with South Korea’s independent counsel looking into the alleged influence-peddling scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye and her confidante.
The independent counsel has been seeking to find the whereabouts of Chung Yoo-ra, the 20-year-old daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who is suspected of having exercised influence over key state affairs and used her ties with Park for financial gains and personal favors.
The team earlier said it has secured a court warrant to detain Chung for questioning on charges of business obstruction. It plans to ask for the German prosecution’s cooperation in repatriating her, and will take steps to invalidate her passport.
The German prosecutors said it will cooperate with South Korea’s investigation if there’s a formal request, although they have yet to find the whereabouts of Chung. German investigators also have been looking into alleged money-laundering by Choi’s company in Frankfurt.
The independent counsel placed Chung on the wanted list, saying any attempts to help her escape will be a criminal offense.
Chung’s attorney said he will continue to persuade her to cooperate with the investigation.
The team, which raided the state pension service Wednesday, said the investigation on the organization is under way.
Samsung is under suspicion for receiving the support of the nation’s largest institutional investor in exchange for its donations and favors to Park’s long-time friend Choi Soon-sil and her daughter.
Samsung allegedly donated 20.4 billion won to the two public foundations that may have been controlled by Choi. An opposition lawmaker also claimed that Samsung signed a 22 billion-won (US$18.3 million) contract with a Germany-based company owned by Choi and financially supported her daughter Chung’s purchase of equestrian horses, training and other costs.
The counsel, meanwhile, said the team has yet to decide on summoning officials of Samsung Group.
The team said it would closely watch a National Assembly hearing, where Woo Byung-woo, former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, was being grilled Thursday over accusations that he neglected his duties by allowing Choi to interfere in state affairs.