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Chun Doo-hwan`s 3 Mln Won

Posted October. 16, 2010 11:13,   


The clash between ruling and opposition parties has ended over the comment by National Police Agency Commissioner Cho Hyun-oh on the alleged borrowed-name bank account of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, but the dispute rages on in the Internet. A renowned blogger residing in the U.S. recently presented circumstantial evidence on his blog, saying figures close to Roh sent part of his slush fund to the U.S. On Sept. 30, a court fined ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Joo Sung-young three million won (2,700 U.S. dollars). Joo was indicted for hurting the reputation of the late former President Kim Dae-jung by raising suspicion over Kim’s amassing of secret funds. Rumors continue to spread on the Web, however.

Prosecutors in Seoul indicted someone for fraud in late August. The suspect is alleged to have illegally taken 2.5 billion won (2.2 million dollars) from those who needed loans for business by saying slush funds amassed by former President Park Chung-hee were deposited in bank accounts of more than 20 foreign banks under his name. After former presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo were prosecuted for gathering slush funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars, rumors of secret funds amassed by other former presidents have frequently circulated. The truth behind the suspicions must be told but those who damage the reputations of former presidents must also be held accountable.

Of the fine of 167.2 billion won (150 million dollars) levied on Chun, he made a payment of three million won Monday. Prosecutors collected 47,000 won (42 dollars) left in Chun’s bank account in March 2008, so the three-year legal period of collection expires in March next year. The deadline, however, was extended for another three years due to Chun’s latest payment. Prosecutors must confiscate property before the expiration of the deadline. Prosecutors and Chun apparently compromised to prevent law enforcement officers from ransacking his house to seize his property.

In 2003, Chun declared assets of 291,000 won (262 dollars) including deposits and bonds. Prosecutors at the time expressed difficulty in finding his assets, with one saying, “His house was turned over to others and little property under his name remained.” Considering his profligate spending, however, many suspect that Chun is hiding a huge sum of money. The people will be dumbfounded to hear Chun, who collected an astronomical amount of bribes from conglomerates while president, claim to have a meager three million won.

Editorial Writer Park Seong-won (swpark@donga.com)