Disgraced ex-President Chun Doo-hwan's second son, Jae-yong emerged from the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's office on Wednesday morning following 18 hours of questioning over his involvement in managing his father's massive slush fund.
When confronted by reporters, Chun Jae-yong said he would comment on the matter "in the near future." Chun's family have so far adamantly refused to pay the military ruler's debt to society, claiming that prosecutors seized most of their assets in a massive operation to recover the ex-president's ill-gotten gains.
Chun senior owes W167.2 billion of a W220.5 billion fine (US$1=W1,1096) for corruption in office.
But the pressure is apparently starting to get to them. Chun's brother-in-law Lee Chang-seok has been arrested on charges of evading W12.4 billion in taxes in the process of selling a property in Osan, Gyeonggi Province to Chun Jae-yong. Also, Chun Doo-hwan’s eldest son Jae-kook (54) is expected be summoned soon.
On top of that, Chun's equally disgraced successor Roh Tae-woo this week finally cleared the remaining W23 billion of his own fine for corruption in office and other crimes.
The question is whether the shady clan can pay. A lawyer for the Chun family recently told the Chosun Ilbo that a lot of loans were taken out to buy their lavish real estate and that the amount of assets that prosecutors seized from them was "far less" than the W80 billion reported in the media.
Sigongsa, the publishing company owned by Chun Jae-kook, and BL Asset, the property investment firm run by Jae-yong, are both rumored to be in financial trouble due to the ongoing investigation.
A prosecution spokesman said discussions "are taking place" over the repayment of the fine, but declined to comment on how payment will be made.
Observers believe prosecutors are wary of commenting since it may give the impression that they are trying to strike a deal with the Chuns.