German prosecutors said Thursday they are ready to cooperate with South Korea's independent counsel. / Korea Times file
By Lee Han-soo
Korea's special prosecutor is seeking help from the German prosecution to bring Choi Soon-sil's daughter home and to secure evidence about Choi's alleged hidden wealth of 800 billion won ($668 million).
Choi's daughter, Chung Yu-ra, 20, is a central figure in the corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and is staying in Germany with her baby, defying the prosecutor's call to return for questioning.
Pressure on Chung is increasing after the prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for her on Wednesday and the foreign ministry said it will take action to confiscate or invalidate her passport.
"We have Chung's arrest warrant issued for several charges, including obstruction of justice," said Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the special prosecutor's team. "We are seeking German prosecutors' cooperation with this."
The team is also seeking information the Germans have collected on Choi, believing it will enable the prosecutor to draw a more accurate picture of what Choi has done in Germany.
The German prosecution has listed Choi and Chung as major criminals and is investigating Choi's wealth, which is estimated at 800 billion won in about 500 paper companies and bank accounts opened across Europe under assumed names.
The special prosecutor's request includes the location of Chung, the German investigative report and the paper trail regarding Choi's companies.
The prosecutor also wants the bank, phone and immigration records of Choi and her alleged cronies and for German authorities to freeze Choi's assets.
People that are known to be under investigation by German prosecutors include Chung's equestrian coach and the Choi family's butler.
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 and her friend Choi, according to Korean media outlet Yonhap.