In addition to being sentenced for life in prison for overthrowing the government, former president Chun Doo-hwan was also sentenced to cough up the bribes he collected during his rule. Chun famously claimed that his entire property amounted to KRW 290,000. Today, Chun still owes more than KRW 167 billion, approximately 75% of the original judgment. And the statute of limitation for enforcing that judgment will lapse in October of this year.
(Under Korean law, the statute of limitations for execution of judgment is three years. However, if more than KRW 1 million is collected in favor of the judgment, the statute of limitations is automatically extended by another three years.)
In a rare showing of bipartisanship, both the New Frontier Party and the Democratic Party are calling for fully enforcing the judgment against Chun Doo-hwan. The call is getting louder in response to the recent news that Chun Doo-hwan’s son, Chun Jae-guk, owned a shell company in the British Virgin Islands designed to avoid taxes. Chun Jae-guk, reportedly, holds at least KRW 60 billion in assets, although he never had a proper job in his life. The information from BVI could very well be the missing link between Chun Doo-hwan and Chun Jae-guk’s money, which would make Chun junior’s property subject to seizure as well.
Unsurprisingly, the Democratic Party is taking a more aggressive posture. Democratic Assembly member Yu Gi-hong proposed a legislation that would sentence hard labor to a public official who was convicted of a crime and does not fully satisfy the judgment. Another Democratic Assembly member Kim Dong-cheol proposed a legislation that requires the family of high officials to explain the source of their assets, and execute 80% of the assets for which the source is unaccounted for. Another legislation extends the statute of limitations from 3 years to 10 years.
New Frontier Party, in contrast, is more focused on the shell companies and tax evasion generally. NFP Assembly man Lee Jae-oh proposed a legislation that would repatriate all money taken outside of Korea for the purpose of tax evasion. NFP is also turning up the heat on Chun Doo-hwan, calling him to come forward and explain any connection with the shell company.