SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- Hundreds of artworks from the family of ex-President Chun Doo-hwan have sold out in auctions that ended earlier this week, raising 7.2 billion won (US$6.7 million) in total, auction houses said Thursday.
Prosecutors seized some 600 pieces of art during their search of homes and houses of the ex-president's family members in July as part of their efforts to collect a huge amount of the wealth the former leader illegally accumulated during his rule in the 1980s.
The items had been sold by the nation's two leading auction houses, K-Auction and Seoul Auction, since December with Wednesday's sale by K-Auction the last.
K-Auction and Seoul Auction said they raised some 4.19 billion won and 3.08 billion won, respectively, through the sales. Most of the money raised through the auctions will go to the state coffers except for some that will cover auction house commissions.
Recording the highest price in the auctions was "Farm," a 1987 oil painting by late Korean modern artist Lee Dai-won that fetched 660 million won.
"At first, the public perception of the Chun collection was not good. But as a company specializing in art, we are proud that the art pieces (from the Chun family) were properly rated their own value and that we helped seize such a large amount for the state coffers through the sales," Lee Sang-gyu, the head of K-Auction, told Yonhap News Agency.
Chun, who seized power in a military coup in 1979, was ordered by the Supreme Court in 1997 to return to state coffers some 220 billion won he had accumulated illegally while in office from 1980 to 1988. Chun had refused to make most of the payment, claiming he was almost penniless.
Under growing public criticism, however, the family promised in September that they would return 170.3 billion won in family assets to the state.
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