SK chairman’s wife appeals divorce ruling, demanding larger share of assets

December 19, 2022

Roh So-young, wife of SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, on Monday filed an appeal against a court’s divorce ruling early this month, demanding half of Chey’s stake in the group’s holding company.

The Seoul Family Court on Dec. 6 approved a divorce between Chey and Roh after 34 years of marriage, ordering the SK chairman to pay 66.5 billion won (US$51.21 million) in property division and an alimony of 100 million won.

Chey, who runs South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, and Roh, the daughter of late former President Roh Tae-woo, married in 1988 and have three children.

These file photos show Chey Tae-won (L), chairman of SK Group, and his wife Roh So-young. (Yonhap)

These file photos show Chey Tae-won (L), chairman of SK Group, and his wife Roh So-young. (Yonhap)

But Chey admitted to having a child out of wedlock in 2015 and filed for a divorce settlement in July 2017, citing irreconcilable differences.

Roh initially opposed a divorce but filed a counter claim for divorce in December 2019, demanding alimony of 300 million won and 42.29 percent of Chey’s stake in SK Inc., a holding company of SK Group. Chey owns 12.97 million shares in SK Inc., or 17.5 percent.

Roh later raised her claim for property division to 50 percent of Chey’s stake in SK Inc. during trial.

But the court excluded Chey’s SK Inc. shares from property division, viewing them as a “peculiar property” that was acquired by inheritance or gift before marriage. The court said it is difficult to say that Roh has made a substantial contribution to the formation, maintenance and value increase of Chey’s stockholdings.

In her appeal filed with an appellate division of the same court, however, Roh’s lawyers said she cannot accept the court’s earlier decision to exclude Chey’s SK Inc. shares from property division.

“The concerned stocks were not inherited from or gifted by late former SK Chairman Chey Jong-hyun but were purchased in 1994 during their marriage for 280 million won,” the lawyers said in a statement.

“The value of the stocks increased to over 3 trillion won through Chey’s management activities and Roh cooperated through internal assistance in the process of increasing the value of the stocks,” they said.