Friday, September 22, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Friday, September 22, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Korea Regains Money Laundered by Ex-Despot

(CN) - Having recovered bribery proceeds that a former president Korean president laundered in the United States, federal prosecutors sent $1.1 million to Korea late Monday.

After the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung-Hee in 1979, Chun Doo-hwan rose to power via coup. The former army general whose name is sometimes spelled Chun Doo Hwan accumulated $220 million in bribes from Korean businesses over the before his ouster in 1988.

Korean authorities arrested Chun in 1995 and he was soon sentenced to death for corruption, mutiny and treason.

The democratically elected President Kim Young-sam nevertheless commuted that sentence in 1997 and released Chun from prison.

That year a Korean court ordered Chun to make $212 million in penalties for the bribes he accepted. When Korean authorities traced Chun's bribery assets the United States in 2013, the U.S. took action.

In early 2014, the FBI found $726,951.45 in a California escrow account after Chun's son and his girlfriend sold certain Orange County, Calif., property nearly a decade earlier.

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors with the Justice Department's Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative filed a second civil forfeiture action in Philadelphia, targeting a secured investment by Chun's son worth approximately $500,000.

The Justice Department settled its civil forfeiture actions with Chun's family in March, and the $1.1 million recovered made its way back to Korea, courtesy of Justice Minister Kim Hyun-Woong, on Monday.

Categories / Uncategorized

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.