South Korean billionaire blames ex-wife as expensive divorce drags on

By Linh Le   November 14, 2023 | 11:14 pm PT
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, has criticized his former spouse Roh Soh-yeong for “manipulating the public” to get an upper hand in an upcoming appeal court regarding their division of assets.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (C) answers reporters questions as he appears at the Seoul Prosecutors Office in Seoul, South Korea on Nov. 19, 2011. Photo by Reuters

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (C) answers reporters' questions as he appears at the Seoul Prosecutors' Office in Seoul, South Korea on Nov. 19, 2011. Photo by Reuters

The business magnate, who is serving as the chairman of South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, complained in a statement released through his attorney Sunday that Roh had ignored the court’s order to refrain from such behavior, reported The Straits Times.

Roh told the press Saturday that she was emotionally hurt by the way their marriage ended, with Chey admitting to having a daughter out of wedlock in 2015 and their divorce going on unsettled.

Responding to Roh’s allegations, Chey claimed in his Sunday statement that the relationship between him and Roh had broken long before he met his current partner, with whom he had the daughter.

He added that he and Roh had maintained a "husband and wife only on paper" situation for many years even before the divorce, which was approved by the court last year, according to Korea Joongang Daily.

The couple will face each other in court in January for an appeal trial regarding their post-divorce asset division.

Both parties have filed appeals against a previous ruling that ordered Chey to pay Roh 66.5 billion won (US$50 million) in assets and 100 million won in alimony, read a court in Seoul in December last year.

Chey, 63, is the eldest son of Chey Jong-hyun, the former chairman of SK Group. He was appointed the chairman of the SK Group in 1998 following his father’s death.

Forbes estimated his net worth at around $1.5 billion.

Roh, 62, is an art museum director. She is the daughter of Roh Tae-woo, the sixth president of South Korea, from 1988 to 1993.

The two married in 1988.

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