South Korea on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for a daughter of the woman at the center of President Park Geun-hye's corruption scandal and investigators raided the National Pension Service over possible links to the scandal.
A special prosecutor's investigation started on Wednesday into the influence-peddling scandal that threatens to make Park, 64, the first democratically-elected leader to leave office early in disgrace. Parliament has voted to impeach Park, a decision that must be confirmed or overturned by the Constitutional Court.
|A man waves a national flag as people march toward the Presidential Blue House during a rally demanding President Park Geun-hye to step down in central Seoul, South Korea, November 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Chung Yoo-ra, the 20-year-old daughter of Choi Soon-sil, Park's long-time friend who is in custody and on trial for fraud and abuse of power.
Chung's lawyer has said she is in Germany, where she flew with her mother and child in September, according to media reports.
"We have Chung's arrest warrant on several charges including obstruction of justice and we plan to request the cooperation of German prosecutors based on these charges," Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the special prosecutor's office, told a news conference.
Lee said authorities are working to invalidate Chung's South Korean passport and have asked German prosecutors for information on her whereabouts and financial assets.
Chung, an equestrian athlete who competed in the 2014 Asian Games and won a gold medal in a team competition, sparked public ire earlier this year when it emerged that she had received special treatment from the prestigious Ewha Womans University.
Her admission to the university was subsequently canceled. She was also stripped of her high school diploma for fabrication of grades and attendance, according to the Seoul education office.