Ex-South Korean Despot Linked to Philly Asset | Courthouse News Service
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Ex-South Korean Despot Linked to Philly Asset

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - The Justice Department has set its forfeiture sights on an asset it has linked to the 1980s extortion campaign of deposed South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan.

Chun Jae Yong, the convicted despot's son, allegedly used proceeds from his father's corruption to acquire in 2009 a $530,000 interest in the Philadelphia U.S. Immigration Fund.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation oversees the fund in question, which allows for special benefits to foreign investors in the city.

In the 27-page complaint, the young Chun's name is abbreviated to JY Chun.

U.S. Magistrate Jacob Hart allowed law-enforcement officials to seize Chun's Philadelphia asset on Aug. 22, 2014, about a week its Sept. 1 maturation would have allowed Chun to convert it into $500,000 cash, according to the complaint.

The asset is held in the name of Chun's wife, Sang Ah Park, the complaint states.

Justice Department trial attorney Della Dentilles signed the 27-page complaint for forfeiture in rem Tuesday, which traces the labyrinthine transactions JY has allegedly undertaken to hide the approximately $23 million he has received from his father.

A military coup brought President Chun to power, and a campaign of retaliation in office allowed him to accumulated $220 million in bribes from Korean businesses, according to the complaint.

The Justice Department says that President Chun's father-in-law, Gen. Kyu Dong Lee, played a big role in laundering corruption proceeds after Chun was removed from office in 1988.

It was Lee who transferred $23 million of bonds to JY Chun.

President Chun was sentenced to death for bribery and insurrection after his removal from office, but the democratically elected President Kim Young-sam commuted that sentence in 1997 and released Chun from prison.

The Justice Department notes that such commutation did not affect the restitution order that Chun still faces, about $167 million of which remains outstanding.

President Chun "has insisted that he owns less than ... approximately $290 in assets," according to the complaint.

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