[EDITORIALS]Ex-president’s dirty moneyLee Soon-ja, wife of former president Chun Doo Hwan, was questioned recently about allegations that she managed part of her husband’s slush funds. While searching for Mr. Chun’s slush funds of 20.6 billion won ($17.4 million), prosecutors dug out the fund in question and found that the amount managed by Ms. Lee is around 13 billion won.
Of course, it cannot be asserted with certainty at the moment that the 13 billion won is all from Mr. Chun’s slush funds. Ms. Lee said, “I do not know how much of my husband’s funds were included in the 13 billion won, because the 13 billion won was prepared after my father had managed 4 billion won reported in 1983 and some other funds from businesses.”
For people who remember Mr. Chun’s remark, during his trial in April 2003, that his assets were only 291,000 won, it is outrageous to hear about such huge amounts.
During an investigation by prosecutors in February 2003, Mr. Chun said, “I used up all the slush funds, and I have not managed any money since 1996.” Now how can Mr. Chun explain the allegations that his wife has managed a great amount of money? According to the prosecution, of the 16.7 billion won Chun Jae-yong, Mr. Chun’s son, claims to have amassed after receiving “presents” for his wedding, 7.3 billion won has been confirmed to have come from Mr. Chun’s slush funds. Some mysterious money is being revealed every day under the names of Mr. Chun’s son and wife. How long will it take for us to see the end of Mr. Chun’s money scandals? The public is indeed upset about Mr. Chun’s family members entangled with black money.
It is no wonder that Ms. Lee told prosecutors that she would pay about 20 billion won of fines on behalf of her husband. Still, that is far short of the fines Mr. Chun was ordered to pay. Mr. Chun was ordered in April 1997 to pay 220.5 million won of fines for his bribery, but he has so far paid only 33.2 billion won. It was shameful for Mr Chun to have remained silent even when his son was arrested and his wife was being investigated by the prosecution.
Mr. Chun will have to reveal all and pay all. That is a proper step for a former president to save himself and his family members.