Ex-President Roh Tae-woo to Pay Remainder of Massive Fine

Former President Roh Tae-woo is expected to pay the remainder of a massive fine for corruption in office soon.

Roh (81) still owes W23 billion (US$1=W1,118) of a W262.9 billion fine for corruption in office. According to sources in the legal community, Roh is negotiating with his younger brother Jae-woo (78) and former in-law Shin Myong-soo (72), former chairman of Shindongbang Group, to pay off the remainder.

Roh Jae-woo will cover W15 billion and Shin W8 billion. In exchange, Roh Tae-woo is apparently willing to scrap demands for interest on money they accumulated while managing his massive slush fund.

Roh's aides say the disgraced ex-president entrusted Shin with a W23 billion slush fund which swelled to W65.4 billion including accrued interest. The three men have apparently completed a letter of agreement and only need to sign it. Once that is done, Roh is expected to pay the fine within a month.

Former President Roh Tae-woo (left) walks into the defendant dock to join his predecessor Chun Doo-hwan in a trial over a military coup and the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising in 1996 (file photo). Former President Roh Tae-woo (left) walks into the defendant dock to join his predecessor Chun Doo-hwan in a trial over a military coup and the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising in 1996 (file photo).

In April 1997, the Supreme Court sentenced Roh to 17 years in prison on charges of staging a military coup, bribery and others and fined him W262.9 billion. He was pardoned in December 1997 by then-President Kim Young-sam and President-elect Kim Dae-jung but remained liable for the fine. Since then, Roh has paid 91 percent in 97 separate installments, but a feud erupted in the family over the payment of the rest.

In June of last year, Roh submitted a petition to the Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office calling for an investigation into Shin, who allegedly embezzled money from the W23 billion slush fund the former president had entrusted in his care. Roh intended to pay the remainder of his fine by receiving the W23 billion from Shin.

But after little progress a year later, Roh's wife Kim Ok-suk (78) submitted petitions to the SPPO and Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office seeking their help in recovering the money.

While Roh is close to paying off his fine, his equally disgraced predecessor Chun Doo-hwan (82) has still only paid 24 percent of a W220.5 billion fine for corruption in office and still owes W167.2 billion. A massive operation is currently underway trying to recover the rest.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 22, 2013 11:03 KST

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