Former President Roh Tae-woo has finally cleared the remaining W23 billion of a massive fine incurred for corruption in office and other crimes (US$1=W1,099).
The Seoul Central District Court on Monday said Roh’s former in-law Shin Myong-soo (72), the ex-chairman of the Shindongbang Group, has paid W8 billion while Roh's younger brother Jae-woo (78) will pay the remaining W15 billion on Thursday.
The two stand accused of massively enriching themselves by investing the ex-president's slush fund.
In April 1997, the Supreme Court sentenced Roh to 17 years in jail for staging a military coup, bribery and other crimes and fined him W262.9 billion. He was pardoned in December 1997 but remained liable for the fine. Since then, he has paid 91 percent in 97 separate installments.
He has always maintained that he wants to pay the fine in full, but has been entangled in a legal dispute with his brother and former in-law over the missing billions. He filed a lawsuit against his brother to recover W12 billion Roh says he entrusted him with in 1988 and 1991, and after years of legal wrangling a court found in his favor.
The government also sued Roh Jae-woo to collect the fine from him instead of from the former president. Faced with losing control of the company he created using his brother's slush fund, Roh Jae-woo agreed to pay W15 billion of the fine. His lawyer Lee Heung-soo said the money would be raised using the company's stocks and other assets as collateral.
But Roh's predecessor Chun Doo-hwan (82) is still struggling hand and foot to get out of paying W167.2 billion of a fine also incurred for corruption in office despite a massive operation to recover the money. There are rumors that his children are discussing whether to pay W80 billion of their father's fine, but a lawyer close to the family said this remains uncertain because prosecutors had seized assets worth roughly that much money from them and other relatives.
Prosecutors on Monday raided the offices of DongA One Corp., a flour mill that belongs to the father-in-law of Chun’s third son Jae-man on suspicion of laundering the ex-president's ill-gotten gains.
The probe has widened from Chun's eldest son Jae-kook (54) and second son Jae-yong (49) to the third son Jae-man. The third son also operates a winery in California valued at around W100 billion, and prosecutors believe it was established with Chun's slush fund.