Posted: 03 Jun 2013 05:03 PM PDT
In my experience, nowhere else does the Korean currency's lack of sub-division give rise to as much confusion as when discussing the amount pilfered and stashed away by the two still-alive, army-general-turned-presidents.
When I was very young, I remember vaguely reading the headline of a newspaper which contained some number followed by 조 or some amount like that (I could deal with 억(億,1×10^8) but not 조(兆,1X10^12), attributed to the amount in won which 노태우 Roh Taewoo was meant to have stashed in a Swiss bank, and not being able to get my head around the number (it was not astronomical, but approaching cosmological). I think I was trying to think what one could do with such money, but obviously from a child's perspective.
Following the drumroll we had earlier that the list of people who had accounts in the British Virgin Islands obtained by journalists contained some Koreans,
It was to be expected that in South Korea, the level of people who would be on the list are not just your neighbourhood-level-millionaires, but would include people connected to the fantastic comedians such as Mr.Ishipku manwon (Mr.290 dollars) who is nearing the end of the period in which he has to pay the penalty imposed on him (since being sentenced in 1997 to pay 2205억 원 (~220.5 million USD) of which he has only paid around one quarter of it in the last 16 years so the remaining 1672억원 (~167.2 million USD is still withstanding). Apparently 11th October 2013 is the time limit on collecting this money so after that he and his family are scott-free and owes nothing. What an impeccable timing, if the prosecutors manage to track it down. They should work at full-throttle, and so should the press.
Also interesting timing is how the Swiss banks are now under pressure from the US to do away with their client secrecy policies. Our lady president herself has been under rumours to have withdrawn from the slush fund she inherited from her father in a Swiss Bank account.
Incidentally, I also remember meeting a Eurotrash-type Swedish student/model in a club in Stockholm, and when she told me how she once met a son(or grandson?) of a Korean ex-president who gave her a very expensive watch as a present, being embarrassed and asking her "Are you sure it wasn't a North Korean guy?"
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