The Korea Herald


Former U.S. 8th Army chief improperly accepted gifts in South Korea: report

By Korea Herald

Published : Aug. 8, 2013 - 20:26

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Joseph F. Fil Jr., the former commander of the U.S. Eighth Army in South Korea, was found to have improperly accepted gifts while commanding U.S. troops here, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing a confidential investigative report by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General.

According to a redacted version of the undated report, obtained by the Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, he improperly accepted a $1,500 gift of Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique roller-ball and ballpoint pens ― with “gold-plated furnishings” ― along with a $2,000 briefcase. 
Joseph F. Fil Jr. Joseph F. Fil Jr.

The name of the South Korean donor was redacted from the report, but he was described as someone whom Fil met in his official capacity as a U.S. commander.

Pentagon’s investigators also determined that Fil “allowed” a family member to accept a $3,000 cash gift from the South Korean donor.

Fil told investigators that he accepted the gifts in “good conscience,” believing that they were legal because the giver was a longtime personal friend. However, investigators cast doubt on that explanation, noting that the South Korean did not speak English.

The report states that Fil “surrendered the briefcase and pen set to investigators” and that he ultimately repaid the $3,000 to the South Korean with a cashier’s check.

The investigation began in early 2011, shortly after Fil concluded his assignment as a commander in Korea. Agents from the FBI, the Army Criminal Investigation Command and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service assisted with the probe.

The report was completed more than a year ago, but the inspector general and the Army kept the details secret until this week, when The Washington Post obtained the redacted version under the FOIA.

By Chun Sung-woo (