[EDITORIALS]Beggar act wears thinProsecutors said yesterday that included in the 16.7 billion won ($14.4 million) of mystery money found in the secret account of Chun Jae-yong, the second son of former president Chun Doo Hwan, about 5.4 billion won appears to belong to the senior Chun’s hidden funds.
Former President Chun claimed in court that he only had 291,000 won; that proves to have been a lie. The prosecutor’s investigation will focus on where the rest of Mr. Chun’s hidden assets are.
Mr. Chun was fined 225 billion won in 1997 after being convicted of bribery, but the government has so far only collected 33.2 billion won of the fine.
Mr. Chun adamantly denies having more.
It is absolutely audacious for Mr. Chun to have hidden large amounts of money received from corporations in bearer bonds and hand them over to his son. His claim that he had no money turned out to be a blatant lie. The reason why he had been able to spend money indiscriminately in the past is because he had secret funds stashed away.
We are appalled at the brazenness of Mr. Chun, who would dare to transfer money he received as bribes to his son to use in his business. Mr. Chun was bequeathing illegal funds accumulated from bribes to his sons. It is even more dismaying to see that his son Jae-yong also lied, claiming that the money belonged to his maternal grandfather.
What Mr. Chun must do first is to reveal the details of his hidden assets and voluntarily pay all his fines. Only then can he regain his honor as a former president who is already tainted and disgraced.
It is only a matter of time before the prosecution reveals the truth about Mr. Chun’s illegal funds even if he keeps tight-lipped about them. Even when his house was put up for auction, Mr. Chun refused to budge.
Through persistent investigations of his son Jae-yong’s illegal funds, the prosecution must continue tracking the former president’s hidden money. Mr. Chun should be subpoenaed and those around him should be investigated.
The prosecution must also look into whether the assets of other members of his family have a justifiable basis, and it must look into the flow of fake accounts and bearer bonds in the bond markets.