Prosecutors on Monday impounded the front garden of disgraced ex-president Chun Doo-hwan's home in Yeonhee-dong in Seoul. The 453 sq.m yard is valued at about W900 million (US$1=W1,113).
Prosecutors believe that Chun, who owes the government massive fines for corruption in office, owns the plot under a borrowed name. The land was bought in the name of his eldest son Chun Jae-kook in 1982, when Chun junior was a college student, but in June 1999 it was transferred to Lee Taek-soo, one of Chun's former secretaries.
Lee was arrested in 1996 when he was trying to convert bearer bonds belonging to Chun into cash in the private money market in Seoul's Myeong-dong.
But prosecutors decided not to seize Chun's main house and annex due to lack of evidence that they are held by proxy. Chun's wife Lee Soon-ja bought the main house in 1969.
Chun bought the land and built the annex in 1987. The state seized the annex building several times but it was auctioned back to his family each time.
In 2003, his brother-in-law Lee Chang-seok won the auction by bidding W1.6 billion, double the appraisal value, allowing the Chuns to keep using it. At another auction in April this year, his daughter-in-law Lee Yoon-hye bought it for W1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, prosecutors has been investigating Chun Jae-kook's records of art sales worth W14 billion, which prosecutors believe would shed light on 30 percent of artworks confiscated in July from Chun junior's publishing company, Sigongsa.
Prosecutors are also trying to find out where the money came from with which he bought the artworks. They believe the money was part of a slush fund that had to be laundered in the early 1990s, when real-name financial transactions were first introduced. The works are reportedly valued at about W5 billion.