Danish court allows extradition of South Korean woman

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2017 11:29 AM

AALBORG, Denmark (AP) — A Danish court on Wednesday upheld a decision by the public prosecutor in Copenhagen to allow the extradition of the daughter of the former confidante of South Korea's ousted president to face prosecution in her home country.

The 20-year-old Chung Yoo-ra, who is wanted as part of the corruption investigation, is the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who is jailed in South Korea on suspicion of bribery and receiving favors from companies in return for manipulating government affairs.

The District Court of Aalborg ruled that there was no impediment to extraditing her, prosecution spokesman Simon Gosvig said. Chung was arrested in Aalborg in northern Denmark on Jan. 1 on an international warrant.

Her defense lawyer, Michael Juul Eriksen, said he appealed the ruling immediately after the court ruling. The appeal hearing in the Western High Court is expected in "one to two months," Juul Eriksen said.

"Of course, this is not what we hoped for. The judge did agree that they didn't present any evidence at all, but he just thought that they didn't need to do that," he said. "I still think there (are) special circumstances in this case and they have to provide some kind of evidence for the accusations."

He told reporters that Chung would be willing to go back to South Korea if she were allowed to stay in touch with her son.

"That is actually one of her main reasons that she wants to stay in Denmark. If they could just provide some kind of security, some guarantee that she will be able to see her son when she is sent to Korea, she will be willing to go to Korea right away," Juul Eriksen said. "But she's simply afraid that they will take her child away from her and use it against her in this case."

Last month, the prosecutor's office determined that all conditions for her extradition had been met.

Special Prosecutor David Hvelplund said that Wednesday's hearing dealt solely with the extradition order and was not "a political charge in any way or an indictment."

"We are not supposed to try ... the Korean case in Denmark. This is only a case with regards to extradition," he said. "We can make some conditions for extraditing, but having the Koreans obligate themselves to have special arrangements with a child, I don't think so."

"But let's see if she wants to go home at all, I don't think so," Hvelplund added.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye was removed from office last month on allegations that she colluded with Choi.

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Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to show that Chung wants to be allowed to stay in touch with her son, not daughter.