By Kim Rahn
Ownership of late actress Choi Jin-sil's fortune is getting ugly, as both her family and her ex-husband Cho Sung-min are claiming the money.
According to her former agency SBM, Choi's brother, actor Choi Jin-young and Cho, a former pro-baseball player, recently discussed the actress' fortune being left to Choi's two children ― a seven-year-old boy and five-year-old girl.
The two parties, however, showed different opinions, SBM said.
``Cho told Jin-young that he has the parental right of the children and thus the right to manage the fortune given to them, however, Jin-young was furious,'' a manager of the agency said.
When Choi and Cho divorced in 2004, Choi took the children, retaining both parental right and the right to rear them.
``As far as I know, Jin-young and Choi's mother cannot use the money without Cho's permission until the children become of age. Jin-young tried to solve the problem, but Cho refused,'' the agent said.
``Cho previously said he would respect the family's opinion and do whatever he could, but changed his mind suddenly,'' he said, adding the issue is likely to go to court.
Cho, however, said through his lawyer that his real intention was falsely reported. ``Cho is not interested in Choi's fortune at all. He just hopes that the fortune will be well managed by a third party, like a lawyer or a court, until the kids are of age,'' Cho's lawyer was quoted as saying Wednesday.
Regarding the right to rear the children, the lawyer said, ``It is fine for Cho that Choi's mother or Jin-young brings them up as the kids want. Whoever the guardian will be, the childcare cost can be paid monthly through the third party.''
When Choi and Cho divorced, Cho gave up both the parental right and the childcare right. But following Choi's death, Cho can apply to regain the parental right. If so, he can manage Choi's fortune as the kids' legal representative.
Choi's fortune is speculated as being anything up to 20 billion won.