Late last year, the Korean Equestrian Federation (KEF) became embroiled in a scandal surrounding the impeachment of South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye, who was accused of collusion.
It was alleged that Choi Soon-sil, an unofficial advisor to Park with ties to the KEF, had received favours as the result of their relationship. Choi was charged with fraud, coercion and abuse of power.
During the investigation, the decisions of the KEF, run by Samsung Electronics executive Park Sang-jin, came under review, including the funding of Choi’s daughter’s riding career. Chung Yoo-ra, a 20-year-old dressage rider, was a member of the gold medal winning team at the 2014 Asian Games. It is alleged, for example, that Samsung gave €2.8 million ($3.1 million) to a company in Germany owned by Choi and her daughter as part of a “consulting arrangement” to fund Chung’s equestrian training.
According to the Korea Herald, it has now come to light that Chung did not even participate in the training. The KEF discipline committee has ordered that Chung pay back the money she received as a training allowance in 2015. Further, the KEF has decided to permanently ban her from competing in any equestrian events either domestic or international.
Chung has been detained in Denmark since being arrested on January 2, 2017. On April 19th, a Danish court upheld a prosecutor’s decision to extradite Chung. However, she immediately appealed the decision. It will now take approximately two months for the matter to be dealt with in appeals court.
Chung, who denies any involvement in the scandal, has stated that she would return home if allowed to stay with her one-year-old son.