S. Korean strongman's art collection sold to pay fines

13 march 2014, 18:08
Art works confiscated from the family of former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-Hwan have been auctioned to pay multi-million-dollar fines imposed for bribes the disgraced military strongman received in office, AFP reports.

Two auction houses said Thursday they had raised 7.2 billion won ($6.7 million) from the sale of 600 art works since December.

The figure raised still falls far short of the 167.2 billion won Chun has been ordered to pay.

Lee Sang-Gyu, the head of K-Auction, said the last batch of 97 items sold Wednesday fetched 1.36 billion won, more than twice their estimate.

Among the works were three pieces of calligraphy written by Chun himself which went for between one and five million won each.

Succumbing to pressure from prosecutors, Chun's family in September agreed to put their assets -- including a large house in Seoul where Chun and his wife live -- up for sale.

Chun, now 83, seized power after the 1979 assassination of longtime military ruler Park Chung-Hee.

His eight-year rule was noted for the corruption of his administration and mass pro-democracy protests.

In a judgement confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1997, Chun was convicted of insurrection and corruption and ordered to pay 220 billion won in restitution to the state.

He only returned a small portion of the sum, arguing that he did not possess the necessary cash or assets.

President Park Geun-Hye, the daughter of Park Chung-Hee, has chided her predecessors for not pushing Chun hard enough to pay the rest of his fines.

Chun's son and his brother-in-law were both given suspended jail sentences last month after being convicted of tax evasion.

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