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South Korea's sixth-richest man admits to affair and child

Chey Tae-won's case could be the "divorce of the century," according to South Korea media.

By Elizabeth Shim
SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won, whose net worth is estimated to be $3.8 billion, said he has been involved in an extramarital affair and that he had had a child out of wedlock. File Photo by Yonhap
SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won, whose net worth is estimated to be $3.8 billion, said he has been involved in an extramarital affair and that he had had a child out of wedlock. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- South Korea's sixth-richest man said he has been conducting an extramarital affair for several years and had a child out of wedlock.

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, whose net worth is estimated to be $3.8 billion, made the admission public on South Korean social media, JoongAng Ilbo reported.

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His post has gone viral among South Koreans, who have taken turns disparaging the 55-year-old Chey, blaming the 2015 repeal of South Korea's anti-adultery law, or commending Chey for his honesty.

Chey said in his statement "personality differences" between him and his wife, Roh So-young, 54, had led to separate lives split by a "deep valley," and that during a period of trial separation he had met "a person who was a source of comfort."

Roh, director of a contemporary art center in Seoul, is the oldest daughter of former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo, who served a term between 1988 and 1993, and was later charged with bribery and corruption.

Yonhap reported Chey most likely began the affair with the other woman in the mid-2000s, and the woman, identified only as "Chloe," was a previously married U.S. citizen.

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A prominent U.S.-based Korean blogger wrote Chey had purchased luxury real estate in Seoul for the woman in 2011, and celebrated their daughter's first birthday at an upscale hotel in Hong Kong, but a spokesman for SK Group denied those claims.

South Korean news network YTN reported the marriage, symbolic of Chey and Roh's powerful families could end in what is being dubbed the "divorce of the century."

Chey and Roh married while her father was in the presidential Blue House, and the two began dating while studying in the United States at the University of Chicago.

Roh has said she has no intention of agreeing to Chey's request for divorce, and an expensive court battle is likely to ensue, centered on Chey's assets, estimated to be around $3.8 billion.

Chey and Roh have three children -- a son and two daughters.

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