July 18, 2013 12:08
A metal detector led prosecutors to a hidden safe at the home of disgraced ex-president Chun Doo-hwan on Tuesday, but they were disappointed to find it empty.
They were apparently unable to find any liquid assets like cash, securities or jewels, other than fewer than a dozen paintings by famous Korean artists, suggesting that Chun had been tipped off about the raid.
The ex-president calmly watched his house being searched until he told prosecutors he was going to have lunch with his wife Lee Soon-ja.
But Chun was unable to prepare for raids on 17 homes and offices of his relatives, where prosecutors on Tuesday seized around 150 valuable artworks. On Wednesday, prosecutors raided another 12 homes owned by Chun, his family and close associates, as well as a company run by his eldest son Jae-kook.
Prosecutors on Monday sought search warrants for 18 locations but the court granted only five. But by presenting items confiscated in Tuesday's raid, they then managed to persuade the court to give them more warrants.
Among the homes searched was the home of the mother-in-law of Chun's second son Jae-yong, who is suspected of abetting him by registering his assets in her name.
The ex-strongman's four children own more than W100 billion worth of assets (US$1=W1,121). Chun Jae-kook has around W30 billion in financial assets and real estate, while Chun Jae-yong owns a significant amount of real estate through his property management company.
Prosecutors also raided the homes of Chun senior's in-laws and former secretaries.
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