The eldest son of South Korea’s former President Chun Doo-hwan obtained an offshore company in the Caribbean in 2004 amid a tax evasion probe into his younger brother’s alleged involvement with their father’s bribery-fed slush fund.
Prosecutors are aggressively seeking the ex-president’s hidden assets in the face of an approaching statute of limitations deadline for his unpaid fine of 167.2 billion won ($149.3 million).
Chun Jae-kook, the oldest child of the former military strongman, became a director and shareholder of a secret company in the British Virgin Islands with the help of a law firm and an offshore services provider in Singapore, according to records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and reviewed by the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ), also known as Newstapa.
Chun Jae-kook, CEO of the country’s major publishing house, Sigongsa, did not respond directly to requests for comment for this story.
He released a statement saying that his offshore company had nothing to do with his father and that it was not created for evading taxes or concealing assets. He explained that his involvement in offshore came about as he moved the money he had for studying and living in the United States to Singapore when he returned to South Korea in 1989.
“I have never taken assets out of the country, and am currently holding no assets abroad,” he said.
Dictator’s Ill-gotten Wealth
Chun Jae-kook’s 2004 acquisition of the offshore company came months after his younger brother, Chun Jae-yong, was arrested on charges of evading taxes on 16.7 billion won, money that the younger Chun said he inherited from his maternal grandfather.
A court ruled that at least 7.3 billion won of the money came from his father’s slush fund.