Roh’s ex-in-law grumbles about fine

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Roh’s ex-in-law grumbles about fine

The massive criminal fine on former President Roh Tae-woo was finally supposed to be paid off after his younger brother and a former in-law agreed to pay the 23 billion won ($20 million) balance.

But Shin Myung-soo, ex-chairman of the Shingdongbang Group and the father of Roh’s former daughter-in-law, is now balking, saying he wants his share of the payment to be considered a donation to the nation rather than a criminal fine.

Roh has paid about 91 percent of the 262.8 billion won fine levied against him by the Supreme Court in 1997, when he was convicted of bribery. He has asked the government to collect the remaining 9 percent, or 23 billion won, from his younger brother and Shin, saying he gave them money equal to that amount from slush funds he ran in the past.

The statute of limitations on Shin’s taking of that money has expired so he is not legally obliged to pay any of the fine.

But a new law passed by the National Assembly authorizing prosecutors to go after the wealth of the family of former strongman Chun Doo Hwan, Roh’s predecessor, to pay off his bigger fine could someday extend to Roh. So the pressure is on his son and Shin.

Shin’s lawyer said the 72-year-old has yet to sign an agreement to return to the state 8 billion won and is now more inclined to give the money in the form of a donation.

“Shin is firm on the decision that he will pay 8 billion won in some way,” Shin’s lawyer said on the condition of anonymity. “We will pay in cash by the Chuseok holiday next month. Still, no final decision has been made as to which form the payment will take.”

Roh’s younger brother Roh Jae-woo is planning to pay 15 billion won.

“We understand that there is some friction among the parties,” said a prosecutor with the knowledge of the matter. “But in the end, we believe that Shin will pay the fine to the court.”


BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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