DPRK citizens sue for inheritance in ROK (Part 2)

Another North Korean is suing for an inheritance claim in South Korean courts.  According to the Joong Ang Ilbo:

A North Korean man is seeking to inherit part of the assets left behind by his father who died in the South, government and court officials here said yesterday, just weeks after a similar case ended in assets being split among family members across the two Koreas.

The man in his 50s is currently preparing to file a lawsuit with the help of an agent in China and a lawyer in South Korea, the officials said on condition of anonymity. The man’s late father reportedly left behind an inheritance worth millions of dollars.

The alleged case comes on the heels of a similar inheritance dispute that ended earlier this month after a Seoul court mediated the split of assets worth 10 billion won ($9.35 million) between South and North Korean family members of a North Korean man who died here in 1987. It was the first time North Koreans were awarded assets left by a relative in the South.

The lawyer in charge of the new case visited South Korean ministries last month to discuss the possibility of transferring assets out of the country, according to a government official.

The large amount of assets involved in the recent inheritance lawsuits has raised suspicions of the North Korean regime’s involvement, the official added.

“Judging from the recent cases, it seems like the North Koreans are filing lawsuits with detailed knowledge of their parents’ inheritance. Wouldn’t that be difficult without the [North Korean] government’s help?” the official said.

An earlier report indicated that a new South Korean law is supposed to go into effect in January 2012 which prevents inheritance claims from being sent to the DPRK without the permission of the Seoul government.  This would mean that if this case can be resolved quickly (slim chance) the funds might find their way back to the DPRK.

After January 2012, should North Koreans continue to file these cases, we can expect that Pyongyang would put them on the table in any kind of inter-Korean negotiations.  This could potentially make a few North Koreans opposed to reconciliation between the two governments since it would imply the South Koreans would release the funds to the North Korean government rather than holding them in escrow for the individuals themselves.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean man sues to get father’s inheritance
Joong Ang Ilbo
2011-8-1

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