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court orders South Korean Tycoon to Pay $1 Billion Divorce Settlement to ex-wife

court orders South Korean Tycoon to Pay $1 Billion Divorce Settlement to ex-wife

In a landmark decision, South Korea’s Seoul High Court has ordered Chey Tae-won, chairman of the SK Group conglomerate, to pay his ex-wife, Roh So-young, a record 1.38 trillion won ($1 billion; £788 million) in cash. This ruling, the largest divorce settlement in South Korean history, comes almost ten years after the dissolution of their 35-year marriage, which ended following Chey’s admission of fathering a child with another woman.

The court’s decision grants Roh a substantial portion of Chey’s company shares, significantly increasing the previous settlement of 66.5 billion won awarded by a lower court in 2022. Chey plans to challenge the ruling, with his legal team arguing that the court largely accepted Roh’s claims without sufficient scrutiny. The High Court’s verdict overturned the earlier court’s refusal to allocate any of Chey’s SK shares to Roh.

In its judgment, the court noted that Roh’s role as Chey’s wife contributed to the growth and success of SK Group. The court also acknowledged her efforts in navigating regulatory challenges and highlighted the support from her father, former President Roh Tae-woo, which provided strategic advantages for SK Group’s former chairman, Chey Jong-hyon.

Additionally, the court criticized Chey’s behavior during the trial, pointing out his lack of remorse for his actions and disrespect for monogamy. This behavior, along with Roh’s suffering due to his extramarital affair, influenced the court’s decision.

Chey’s defense claimed that Roh’s political ties had been more detrimental than beneficial to his business operations. Despite the contentious nature of the proceedings, SK Inc.’s shares surged by 9% following the announcement of the ruling. SK Inc. is a major player in the semiconductor industry, with significant interests in telecommunications, chemicals, and energy.

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