The U.S. Department of Justice is trying to force a former South Korean president and his family to turn over $700,000 they allegedly laundered by buying and selling a house in Newport Beach.
In a civil forfeiture lawsuit filed Thursday morning in Los Angeles Federal court, the DOJ alleges that former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan bought a home on Port Manleigh Place in 2005 using money connected to millions of dollars of bribes he allegedly received while in power.
"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 O'Neil said in a news release.
In 1997, South Korean authorities convicted President Chun of receiving those bribes.
"President Chun and his relatives laundered some of these corruption proceeds through a web of nominees and shell companies in both Korea and the United States," the DOJ announcement said.
Working with South Korean authorities, U.S. law enforcement determined that Chun's family sold the Newport home for $721,951, according to the DOJ.
The Newport Beach home was soldin February.
"The U.S. will not be a safe repository for assets misappropriated by corrupt foreign leaders," FBI Assistant Director in Charge Bill Lewis said in the announcement.