South Korean Billionaire to Pay $1B Divorce Settlement

South Korean Billionaire to Pay $1B Divorce Settlement
Image copyright: Anna Moneymaker/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Chey Tae-won, chairman of the South Korean conglomerate SK Group, has been ordered to pay his ex-wife Roh So-young 1.38T won (US$1B). This is the largest divorce settlement in the country's history.

  • The High Court in Seoul also ordered Chey to give Roh a portion of his company stock shares, which brings the total settlement to an estimated 35% of his wealth. This overturns a previous lower court ruling that ordered him to pay 66.5B won and no company shares.

The Spin

Narrative A

Roh is legally owed a portion of the property she and Chey once held together, which means he must take his massive stake in the company — the largest of any shareholder — and turn it into cash for his now ex-wife. SK Group benefitted from its connection to Roh and her father, and this deserves to be recognized.

Narrative B

While Roh may currently expect to receive this unprecedentedly high divorce settlement, this biased and arbitrary ruling will certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court. With no evidence that the company profited from its ties to Roh, this ruling should never have been issued.

Sign up to our daily newsletter