Chun’s wealth must be probed

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Chun’s wealth must be probed

The prosecution’s investigations into former President Chun Doo Hwan’s massive amount of hidden wealth are beginning to bear fruit as the sources of his and his families’ assets are increasingly becoming clear. As the prosecution prepares to bring all involved people to justice this time, it must keep its determination to retrieve all the money Chun hid in accounts under other people’s names.

A special investigation unit of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office is probing the suspicion that Lee Chang-seok, Chun’s brother-in-law, gave at least 30 billion won ($26.9 million) to Chun’s children after selling a huge plot of land in Osan, Gyeonggi, that Lee had bought with Chun’s slush funds. After analyzing Chun’s property distribution scheme for his children, which the special investigation team obtained, the prosecution found that Lee had planned to give Chun’s offspring as much as 50 billion won from the sale of the land. The prosecution plans to summon Chun’s first son Jae-kook and second son Jae-yong for further investigation as soon as it receives warrants for both of them from the court.

The latest development clearly shows that the former president lied when he said he had only 290,000 won in his wallet a few years back. We are dumbfounded by another stunning revelation that Chun had been managing a slush fund of more than 200 billion won through thousands of fake- or borrowed-name bank accounts for eight years after he left office in 1988. He is now in danger of losing his last bit of honor as a former head of state.

As The Washington Post wrote, the prosecution’s effort to retrieve the slush fund is a step toward “full justice for past wrongdoings.” In this regard, the Chun family’s alleged expression of a will to voluntarily pay some of the fine levied on Chun in 1997 is inappropriate.

It’s not just a matter of the amount of money or a question of a compromise between the prosecution and the former president. It’s a national priority to correct the skewed practices of the past to restore justice in the country. In any case, the execution of the money retrieval must not disappoint or fizzle out or it will look like a deal has been made. The prosecution must pursue this decades-old slush fund scandal to the very end.

Prosecutors have a chance now to pursue a grand cause. It’s a historic mission to prove that justice not only lives but can be pursued if the will is there. We hope the prosecution clears away all suspicions surrounding Chun’s slush funds and hidden wealth according to the law once and for all.


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