Government prosecutors filed suit today in Los Angeles seeking recovery of more than $700,000 linked to a corruption probe of a former president of the Republic of Korea.
The money was seized in February 2014 from the sale of a house in Newport Beach, which ex-leader Chun Doo-hwan's son, Chun Jae Yong, bought in 2005 with cash allegedly traceable to his father's corruption, according to the Department of Justice.
"While serving as Korea's president, Chun Doo-hwan betrayed the Korean people by taking over $200 million in bribes, some of which his family members then illegally laundered into the United States," Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O'Neil of the DOJ's criminal division said.
"Through the department's Kleptocracy Initiative, we are making crystal clear that the United States will not tolerate the use of its financial system by corrupt foreign officials -- or their relatives -- to harbor their ill-gotten gains," he said.
As alleged in the forfeiture complaint, the ex-leader was convicted in Korea in 1997 of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes from Korean businesses and companies.
He and his relatives laundered some of these corruption proceeds through a web of nominees and shell companies in both Korea and the United States, DOJ officials alleges.
Through cooperation between U.S. and Korean law enforcement and prosecutors, the $721,951 sought for forfeiture was identified when the ex-president's relatives sold a home in Newport Beach that had been purchased with laundered cash, according to the DOJ.
--City News Service