U.S. returns ex-president’s assets

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U.S. returns ex-president’s assets

The United States has returned assets worth some $1.12 million that belonged to former Korean President Chun Doo Hwan to Korea, the government said Tuesday.

Justice Minister Kim Hyun-woong met with his U.S. counterpart Loretta Lynch on Monday in Washington to retrieve the funds seized by the United States, the Ministry of Justice here announced Tuesday.

The two met at the headquarters of the U.S. Justice Department in the capital.

As of Monday, approximately 112.9 billion won ($101 million) of the 220.5 billion won the former president owes the state has been recovered.

The money came from the sale of the Los Angeles home owned by Chun’s son, Chun Jae-yong, and his wife’s immigration bonds.

Korea’s Ministry of Justice requested cooperation from the United States in August 2013 in retrieving the former strongman’s funds laundered overseas.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations froze the Chun family’s assets, including those belonging to his son, Chun Jae-yong, and took civil action to confiscate the family’s money.

In March, the family agreed with the U.S. Justice Department to forfeit the $1.2 million in bribery proceeds laundered in the United States.

The younger Chun was also accused of engaging in real estate fraud in 2006 and was sentenced by the Supreme Court in August to a three-year suspended jail term with four years’ probation and 4 billion won fine.

Chun Jae-yong recently requested to pay the fine in installments, saying that he currently does not have enough money to pay his father’s fine and his own. The prosecution has not yet decided whether to accept the request.

BY LEE YU-JUNG [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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