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Billionaire To Pay $1bn To Ex-wife In Divorce Settlement



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SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, left, attends a hearing for his ongoing divorce suit with estranged wife Roh So-young, at the Seoul High Court, April 16.

South Korean billionaire and chairman of SK Group conglomerate, Chey Tae-won, has been ordered to pay his ex-wife 1.38 trillion won ($1bn) in cash, marking the country’s largest-ever divorce settlement.

The divorce settlement comes almost a decade after Chey Tae-won’s marriage ended in scandal, following the revelation of his extramarital affair and the birth of a child with his mistress.

On Thursday, the Seoul High Court ruled in favour of Roh So-young, awarding her a share of Chey Tae-won’s company assets after their 35-year marriage.

Roh So-young is the daughter of former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo.

Chey’s lawyers announced plans to appeal the court’s decision, arguing that the ruling was based solely on his ex-wife’s version of events.

The Seoul High Court’s award of 1.38 trillion won to Roh So-young marks a substantial increase from the 66.5 billion won settlement initially ruled by a lower court in 2022.

A lower family court had previously denied Roh So-young’s request to receive a portion of Chey Tae-won’s SK shares, but the Seoul High Court overturned this decision on Thursday, ruling that the shares should be considered joint assets and awarding her a portion of them.


The ruling said, “It was reasonable to rule that, as his wife, Roh played a role in increasing the value of SK Group and Chey’s business activity.

The court estimated Chey Tae-won’s wealth to be approximately 4 trillion won, and accordingly, Roh So-young, with whom he has three children, is entitled to around 35% of that amount.

Acknowledging Roh So-young’s contributions, the court said she had facilitated the growth of Chey Tae-won’s business by helping to resolve regulatory issues, and additionally, her father, former President Roh Tae-woo, had provided influential support, serving as a “protective shield” for Chey Jong-hyon, the former chairman of SK Group, thereby contributing to the company’s success.

The judgment highlighted that Chey had not shown any remorse “for his foul behaviour in the course of the trial… nor respect for monogamy.

The court added that it factored in Roh So-young’s emotional pain and distress resulting from Chey Tae-won’s infidelity when determining the increased settlement amount.

In their argument, Chey’s legal team contended that his ex-wife’s political connections had actually hindered his business endeavours rather than benefiting them.

Shares of SK Inc., a global semiconductor giant with diverse interests in telecoms, chemicals, and energy, surged 9% following the court’s ruling.

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