S. Korean prosecutors raid former president's home

Featured Korea - July 17th, 2013

South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday raided the home of former President Chun Doo-hwan in an attempt to retrieve nearly $150 million in unpaid fines.

Chun was sentenced to death in 1997 for crimes including his role in the massacre of demonstrators.

The sentence was later reduced to a fine of 220 billion won ($197 million), an amount he was found to have illegally accumulated during his time in office. He has so far paid only a quarter of the total, reports the Financial Times.

Nearly 90 prosecutors and investigators raided the disgraced leader’s residence in eastern Seoul after he refused to pay the remaining 167.2 billion won and claimed he was destitute.

Prosecutors also searched the offices of 17 companies suspected of involvement in concealing Chun’s assets and properties.

Two of the firms are owned by Chun’s eldest son, Chun Jae-kook, who allegedly set up a shell company in the British Virgin Islands in 2004, Yonhap news agency cited a report by an independent news organization.

Expensive works of art were discovered during the raid and will be turned over to the state coffers if found to have been purchased with the former president’s ill-gotten wealth, Yonhap reports.

The raid comes as part of efforts to hold the country’s political and business elite responsible under the rule of law amid talks of “economic democratization”.