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U.S. seeks $700,000 in illegal proceeds traced to ex-South Korea leader

Source: Reuters - Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:55 GMT
Author: Reuters
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In this 2009 file photo, former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan (R) comforts Kim Hong-up, son of deceased former President Kim Dae-jung, at a memorial room at a hospital in Seoul REUTERS/Korea Pool
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WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it has sued in court to recover $700,000 in alleged corruption proceeds traced to former South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan.

The money, seized from a California bank account, comes from the sale of a home in Newport Beach, California, that Chun's son bought in 2005 using funds allegedly traced to his father's corruption, the department said.

Chun, a general who seized power in a 1979 coup, was convicted in South Korea in 1997 of receiving more than $200 million in bribes.

He and his relatives laundered some of the money through shell companies in South Korea and the United States, the Justice Department said.

"The U.S. will not be a safe repository for assets misappropriated by corrupt foreign leaders," Bill Lewis, who runs the FBI's Los Angeles office, said in announcing the action.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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