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Grandson of late president Chun dishes dirt on family

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A photo of former president Chun Doo-hwan, center, and his two grandsons was shared by his grandson Chun Woo-won on Tuesday. [SCREEN CAPTURE]
A photo of former president Chun Doo-hwan, center, and his two grandsons was shared by his grandson Chun Woo-won on Tuesday. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

The grandson of late former president Chun Doo-hwan has been setting tongues on fire with a series of revelations about his family, including accusations that it used ill-begotten money to sustain a luxurious lifestyle.

The grandson, named Chun Woo-won, or Jamie Chun, began posting photos and videos about his family and acquaintances to Instagram on Monday, accusing them of committing crimes and other misdeeds.

He also confessed to being a “sinner” who has done drugs and committed sex crimes.

“I am the grandson of the embarrassing former president Chun Doo-hwan and the son of the devil Chun Jae-yong,” the grandson said in a video posted on his Instagram account.

The 27-year-old currently lives in New York.

“Our family has money that could be used until we die,” Chun told a reporter during an interview with KBS on Thursday.

According to Chun, the money from which his family is benefiting came from unknown hidden assets.

He said he himself also received billions of won worth of assets, including a 20 percent share of BL Asset; shares of Warevalley, a company formed under the name of one of this grandfather’s security guards; and a high-end real estate.

The companies had previously been suspected as the source of the family’s wealth, but this is the first time that a family member has admitted to it.

“But these assets were all taken away by the government and transferred to Park Sang-a,” he said, referring to his father’s current wife.

Chun explained that tracing the exact source of the money is difficult because on paper, the money comes from acquaintances, not the family itself.

His mother also received her alimony through the bank account of a maid who was working at their house at the time, according to Chun.

The grandson also said his uncle owns a winery in Napa Valley in California, further highlighting the suspicious nature of the family’s finances as it “costs an astronomical amount to run a winery.”

His Instagram page included a video of his grandmother playing screen golf in a golf facility located “inside” her house in Yeonhui-dong, central Seoul, the house where the former president last lived and died.

Chun also shared documents related to his rehab treatment after he was diagnosed with ADHD and depression in January last year.

Chun Woo-won, a grandson of former president Chun Doo-hwan [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Chun Woo-won, a grandson of former president Chun Doo-hwan [SCREEN CAPTURE]

“I am sharing this in advance because my family might frame me as an insane person,” he said, stressing that he is completely normal.

During a phone interview with JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of this paper, Chun’s father said that “his son has been sick for a long time” and he “apologizes to the ones who have been affected” by the recent incident.

Chun’s revelations may not necessarily lead to criminal charges or investigations.

“We cannot say a crime occurred, or there’s reason to initiate an investigation, through Chun’s revelations alone,” an official from the prosecution said.

Former president Chun Doo-hwan was convicted of treason, murder and bribe-taking in 1996 and asked to pay a forfeiture of over 220 billion won ($168 million).

Some 128.2-billion-won in assets were seized by the government the following year, but Chun was unable to make up the remaining penalty until he died, claiming he has worth only 290,000 won.

Chun died in Nov. 2021.

Chun Doo-hwan took power in a military coup in 1979 and was known for his dictatorship and bloody crackdown on the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

BY CHO JUNG-WOO, KIM JUNG-MIN [cho.jungwoo1@joongang.co.kr]