A son of disgraced former President Chun Doo-hwan on Tuesday denied allegations of tax evasion and appealed the court’s decision to hand him a suspended prison term.
Chun Jae-yong, 50, claimed that the prosecutors have unlawfully indicted him and his uncle Lee Chang-seok to pressure his father into coughing up billions of won accumulated during his tenure as president. They have been convicted on the charge of evading taxes during a land deal in 2006.
The elder Chun vowed to make the payment after Lee’s arrest, despite initially saying he was nearly penniless. Chun’s claim prompted prosecutors to launch an investigation into his family to collect the wrongly collected wealth.
“It is clear that the defendants merely took the advice of their accountant to save tax, just like any other taxpayers,” Chun’s attorney told the court. “The prosecution, however, appealed the case (against Chun and Lee) with vague accusations that they may commit a similar crime.”
He claimed that his clients are not direct beneficiaries of tax evasion. While Lee was registered as the owner of the plot of land in Osan, Gyeonggi Province, in the 2006 deal, ex-President Chun is believed to be the actual owner.
Prosecutors refuted this by saying that while the former president may be the actual owner of the Osan land, the younger Chun and Lee also profited in the case. They also called for more severe punishment for the two.
“Despite being members of an ex-president’s family, they failed to fulfill even the very minimal social obligations required of all citizens. Furthermore, they do not show any signs of regret and continue to blame someone else for their crimes,” they said.
The trial is set to resume on May 26.
A Seoul court in February sentenced the younger Chun and Lee to extended jail terms for dodging 2.7 billion won ($2.64 million) in transfer taxes while selling a piece of land in Osan.
Chun was handed three years in prison with a four-year stay of execution, while Lee was sentenced to two years and six months in prison with a four-year stay of execution. The two were also slapped with a 4 billion won fine each.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)