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Yoo-ra’s defense lawyer dies, cause unknown

Mar 21,2017
Peter Martin Blinkenberg, the defense lawyer for Chung Yoo-ra in Denmark, was found dead in his home in Lohals, Langeland, on Friday, according to the Danish newspaper Borsen.

The paper reported that the 46-year-old defense lawyer, who specialized in financial crime, “died suddenly” in his home on Friday afternoon. The paper did not specify the cause of death.

Blinkenberg had been defending Chung, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of the power abuse and corruption scandal that led to former President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment, since her arrest in Aalborg, Denmark, on Jan. 1. He was to defend Chung if she sought political asylum.

Danish prosecutors on Friday decided that Chung is to be extradited to Korea “for the purpose of prosecution in her home country.” Three days earlier, on March 14, Blinkenberg told Reuters that Chung would likely seek political asylum if authorities decided to extradite her. Chung has until today to bring the case to court.

Chung is alleged to have used her mother’s influence to receive preferential treatment at Ewha Womans University and generous funding of a questionable nature from Samsung Electronics, which also donated the largest sums to foundations linked to Choi. She is also accused of collaborating with her mother in a money-laundering scheme through a German paper company, Widec Sports.

Blinkenberg leaves behind his wife and three children, who are aged 15, 13 and 10, according to the Danish newspaper.

Blinkenberg’s brother, Christian Blinkenberg, told Borsen that his brother regretted “working too much while the children were young.”

“He was one of the few people who combined huge professionalism and skill with empathy,” he added. “When he visited the detainees, it was not out of duty but because he sincerely cared for them.”

Most known for his role in the Atea case, whereby he “managed to get the charges dropped in the three cases in which he represented the defendants,” according to Borsen, Blinkenberg founded the law firm Blinkenberg Strafferetsadvokater in 2009.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]