Brother, ex-relative to pay outstanding fines of former President Roh

The Korea Times, August 21, 2013

The younger brother of former President Roh Tae-woo and the latter's son's ex-father-in-law are expected to pay his unpaid fines amounting to 23 billion won ($20.6 million) soon.

This is apparently a response to the prosecution's recent efforts to enforce payment of penalties imposed on him and his predecessor, Chun Doo-hwan.

Sources in legal circles said Wednesday that Roh's brother Jae-woo will pay off 15 billion won, while the former Shindongbang Group Chairman Shin Myung-soo whose daughter is the ex-wife of Roh's son will cover the remaining 8 billion won.

The two are likely to meet prosecutors this week to sign an agreement to be executed late this month or early next month.

In return, former President Roh, 80, will pledge to scrap requests that the two return tens of billions of won ― entrusted to them in 1990 ― from a slush fund he amassed.

When contacted, the prosecution refused to offer any confirmation.

In 1997, the Supreme Court sentenced Roh, who was in office from 1988 to 1993, to 17 years in prison with fines of 262.8 billion won on several charges including revolt and bribery.

He was later released on a special pardon, but the fines were not cancelled. Among them, the 23 billion won remains outstanding.

If Roh's fines are paid in full, observers say that it would put pressure on Chun, whose family members are being investigated in relation to his unpaid fines.

"Obviously, Roh and his relatives were intimidated by the unprecedented investigations into Chun and his family. They seemingly realized that they had to surrender," Prof. Shin Yul at Myongji University said.

"It would influence Chun. He and his aides would feel more pressure to follow Roh's suit."

Also in 1997, the Supreme Court ordered Chun, who took the power in a military coup with Roh in 1979 and ruled the country through 1988, to pay 220 billion won to state coffers, the amount that he was estimated to have illegally accumulated.

After paying only around a quarter of the overall amount, however, he refused to comply, contending that he was penniless.

But the 82-year-old has reportedly lived a luxurious life playing golf or travelling overseas regularly. This led to the public opinion that the government should be more active in enforcing the court order.

Previous governments did not try hard to collecting the unpaid finds but incumbent President Park Geun-hye expressed her willingness to do so as a part of her campaign to correct past wrongdoings ― one of her top priorities.
Last month, prosecutors raided houses and offices of Chun and his family in search of hidden assets and seized expensive artifacts among other assets.

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