Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Former Korean Leader’s Family to Forfeit $1.2M

(CN) - The family of former South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan agreed Wednesday to forfeit $1.2 million in bribery proceeds laundered in the U.S., the Justice Department announced.

With the settlement, which was filed in the Los Angeles Federal Court, the U.S. and South Korea have collected a total $28.7 million in a joint investigation into bribes the president, whose name is sometimes spelled Chun Doo Hwan, tried to hide.

Chun, a former army general, rose to power after the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung-Hee in 1979 and ruled until 1988. He was arrested in 1995, and was sentenced to death for corruption, mutiny and treason. But in 1997 he was pardoned and ordered to pay back $203 million in bribes that he collected from scores of businesses.

Prosecutors said Chun and his family laundered his bribery proceeds through a network of individuals, trusts and shell companies located both in the U.S. and in the Republic of Korea.

Since then Chun has only paid back a fraction of that money, claiming he's broke. The forfeiture settlement represents the proceeds of the $2.1 million sale of a Chun family home on Newport Beach, Calif., last year, and money the family made on various investments in Philadelphia.

The settlement agreement was signed by Chun's mother, Yang Ja Yoon; his son, Jae Yong Chun; and his daughter-in-law, Sang Ah Park.


Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.