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Report: 3-star improperly accepted gifts in South Korea

Aug. 8, 2013 - 07:10PM   |  
Former Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., left, reportedly accepted gifts from a South Korean citizen while commanding U.S. troops in that country, according to the Washington Post.
Former Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., left, reportedly accepted gifts from a South Korean citizen while commanding U.S. troops in that country, according to the Washington Post. (Sgt. Song Chang-do/Army)
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A former general who served as the commander of the Eighth Army in South Korea, reportedly accepted gold-plated Montblanc pens, a $2,000 leather briefcase and other gifts from a South Korean citizen while commanding U.S. troops in that country, according to the Washington Post.

Former Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr. also failed to report a $3,000 cash gift to a member of his family from the unnamed South Korean benefactor, the newspaper reported, citing a confidential investigative report by the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General.

Reportedly, the investigation began in 2011, and Fil retired in August 2012 as a major general, one rank below his position as a three-star commander in South Korea. Fil was announced to become the Army’s inspector general in 2010, but he never took the job.

An Army spokesman said Army Secretary John McHugh approved the decision to have Fil retire as a two-star general “after weighing the substantiated allegations of misconduct ... against an otherwise long and distinguished career,” according to the Washington Post. The Army took no other disciplinary measures against Fil, Army officials said.

In a brief phone interview with the Washington Post, Fil declined to answer questions.

Fil reportedly told investigators that he accepted the gifts in “good conscience.” He believed the gifts were legal because they were given by a longtime personal friend. Investigators noted that the South Korean did not speak English and that Fil had to communicate with him by “using hand and arm signals.”

The report states that Fil surrendered the gifts to investigators and repaid the $3,000 to the South Korean.

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