Choi Soon-sil
Choi Soon-sil, a long-time friend of South Korean President Park Geun-hye who is at the centre of the South Korean political scandal involving Park, arrives for her first court hearing in Seoul, South Korea Korea Pool/via REUTERS

A South Korean court on Wednesday, 21 December, issued an arrest warrant for the daughter of President Park Geun-hye's friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is at the centre of a much-talked about political scandal and on trial for fraud and abuse of power.

Twenty-year-old Chung Yoo-ra is in Germany since September after she flew there with her mother and child, according to her lawyer.

"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 added that German prosecutors had been contacted for information about Chung and her financial assets. South Korean authorities could cancel her South Korean passport, Reuters reported.

Chung is an equestrian athlete, who won a gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games in a team event. Earlier this year, a controversy erupted over the special treatment she apparently received from the prominent Ewha Womans University. Her admission to the institution was eventually cancelled.

Choi's daughter is accused of fabricating her grades and attendance in high school, which were subsequently nullified.

Meanwhile, hours before the arrest warrant was issued, investigators raided the office of the South Korean National Pension Service (NPS) — the world's third-largest pension fund. Officials think the organisation had a hand in the scandal that trapped President Park.

The probe team was looking into NPS' decision in 2015 to support the $8bn (£6.48bn) merger of two Samsung Group [SAGR.UL] affiliates. The move was criticised because it is said to have boosted the founder family's control of the group at the cost of other shareholders.

Park was impeached on 9 December after 234 lawmakers voted against her. Over 30 lawmakers from her ruling Saenuri Party who supported the impeachment vote announced on Wednesday that they wanted to separate themselves from the party — a move that would put the party's position in the 300-member chamber in danger.

The conservative party currently holds 128 seats.