The eldest son of disgraced ex-president Chun Doo-hwan has been accused of setting up a shell company in an offshore tax haven.
Newstapa, a website run by the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, said Monday that Chun Jae-kook established a paper company called Blue Adonis in the British Virgin Islands in 2004.
Prosecutors and tax and financial authorities promised to investigate Chun's financial activities. The investigation is expected to impact an epic ongoing probe of alleged slush funds amassed by the former president, who has failed to pay fines from previous convictions claiming he has almost no money left.
Chun Jae-kook created the paper company at a time when his younger brother Jae-yong was convicted of managing a W7.3 billion (US$1=W1,128) slush fund for his father. The coincidence prompts suspicion that the illicit money was transferred overseas.
He also set up an account for Blue Adonis in the Singaporean branch of a Middle Eastern bank. The company was operational until at least 2010.
Chun Doo-hwan and his family were fined W167.3 billion but have not paid and continue to live a life of luxury. The former president claims he only has W290,000, but his four children have own more than W100 billion in assets.
Chun Jae-kook owns around W30 billion of financial assets and real estate, while Jae-yong, who divorced his first wife to marry an actress, owns a significant amount of real estate through his own property management company.
"The collection of fines, which is a form of criminal punishment, applies only to the individual who has been found guilty," said lawyer Kim Nam-ho. "If prosecutors cannot prove that Chun Doo-hwan entrusted money to his family, then there is no way of seizing the assets of his family, no matter how much money they amassed."