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Financial conflict with my brother and his in-laws. Please help

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  • Financial conflict with my brother and his in-laws. Please help

    Hi, I'm new and found this forum on Google search. I'm a 40 year old unmarried British woman currently based in South Korea and living with my parents since early 2020 after living on my own in London for years. My father is British and my mother is Korean, but she spent most of her life in the UK. We are British citizens and my mother has dual-citizenship.

    My parents and myself have a problem with my brother, his Korean wife and her family. I tried to find a forum for legal issues in Korea, but couldn't find one.

    This problem is about a business loan through my brother from his Korean in-laws.

    It started in 2019, when my brother persuaded my father to agree to a business loan from his Korean in-laws to expand our international family business. My brother claimed his in-law parents would take out a 25-year long term mortgage and loan the money to us. The loan was around USD120,000 and as long as we paid their monthly mortgage until we are able to fully pay back then that is the deal according to my brother. During 2019, my father was paying directly to my brother's bank account as part of the repayments.

    During 2020, the pandemic started and our business stopped earning income. We still had money at the time to keep sending repayments directly to my brother's bank account. In January 2021, we ran out of money and my brother's wife let us use her credit card for our basic living (apartment rent around USD900, utilities around USD225, and food around USD600 a month). In January 2022, we stopped using my brother's wife's credit card and borrowed money from our relatives and friends. We were in such a bad way.

    Early last year, our family business started getting a few orders, one every 3 months for around USD5,000 to 10,000 profit.

    Last year August, when one order came in, my brother and sister-in-law became verbally abusive and demanded all the profit. My father gave in as my brother claimed if we don't then his in-law parents will lose their home and car. A few months later in November, my brother came over to our apartment acting unusually nice and told us that his in-laws are taking their family on holiday to Phuket. My parents and I couldn't understand how they can afford to stay in a nice resort for one week when only a few months ago, my brother said if we don't give him all the profit, then they will become homeless. My brother claimed his sister-in-law was paying to take all of them on holiday. At the same time, my brother knew that we had no money for rent or food the same month. He didn't care and kept making excuses.

    Fast-forward to beginning of February this year, my brother started becoming verbally abusive again towards my father and made all these accusations that we never shared any of our profits since 2017. This is absurd as we have all the proof with our bank transactions. My brother and his wife started threatening us via phone calls and text messages with all these lies, even sending horrible messages at 2am.

    My brother's wife called my mother once and said that she needs all the profit from the order coming in at the end of this month. Both my parents and myself were absolutely shocked at both their behaviours and gave them the silent treatment for one week. During this time, my mother called my brother's wife's mother to apologise for the delay in repaying their mortgage, but the mother seemed very hostile while my mother was very polite. The mother hung up on my mother after saying she will think about it when my mother asked to meet up. An hour later, my brother's wife messaged my mother and said her parents don't want to meet us. My brother also messaged my father and said that it was f***ing hilarious and said he hopes our mum and dad will die soon and that I will live alone on the street. We feel the mother knew before my mum called her and is protecting my brother and her daughter.

    More threatening messages came and we found out, the father in law had no idea about my brother loaning us money for business! Where did the money come from? My brother's wife also told my mother separately that they didn't borrow that total amount even though my brother claimed he did and she only asked her father for a small loan amount each time we needed to pay for a business expense, but my father paid those business expenses back directly to my brother's bank account.

    We also found out, it was his parent in-laws that paid for my brother, his wife and two young children to join them on holiday for one week in Phuket.

    Also my brother and his wife have been spending at least USD5,000 a month on their living expenses after his wife admitted to needing this amount per month plus USD3,000 for their total credit cards interests, even with benefits from the government for their 4 and 2 year olds. Neither of them like to cook and order a lot of take outs or dining out. Their apartment rent is USD900 a month.

    Regarding the credit card debt, my brother and his wife have added their total credit card debt on top of ours and refuses to share any credit card statements to show how much we used and the accumulating bank interests. They just told us a lump sum and said our total debt is USD300,000 plus USD3,000 interest each month from now on!

    We feel something very strange going on and we are getting cheated when all we ask for is transparency to pay our debt then provide my brother a back-salary since January 2022 to this February 2024 as his father in law agreed he should get a full-time job. My father is thinking USD2,000 a month back-salary during these dates which I still feel is too much since he hardly did anything.

    We told my brother our top priority is to pay back our credit card debt from 2021 and the accumulating interest it caused, but we are not responsible for their own debt. We told my brother many times since 2020 to get a job as there were a lot of remote full-time jobs here in Korea available, but he doesn't want to. Even now he refuses and says he's too tired. He only likes to work 2-3 hours a day answering 1-3 emails a day as he likes his freedom to go to CrossFit midday, have lunch and then take an afternoon nap. He starts his work day at 3pm. He has two young children. He keeps using them to emotionally blackmail my parents.

    My father is now 77 years old and working every day. He also needs EMR surgery soon as they found a suspicious polyp on his colon which is hopefully only pre-cancerous as suspected prior to a biopsy.

    This month is very hard as we need to pay for my dad's surgery, but my brother's wife does not care. Also she is denying she said she wanted all the profit this month to my brother and he is calling my mum a liar. My brother's wife and her mother is also lying to him about the way my mother called her mother. They said my mother was very rude to her mother when it was the other way round. I witnessed the phone call so I know they are lying.

    I am very scared about this situation and like my father, I also work everyday, from morning to evening, trying to push for more business orders and pay our debt and basic monthly living expenses. I tried to get a job here in Korea, but I don't speak Korean like my brother does. English teaching jobs require a certicate and we can't afford to pay for the course at the moment. I can only work for the family business until I return to the UK.

    We are desperate to pay our debt and accumulate enough income to return to the UK. This is an absolute nightmare and the additional problem we have is one major client, at this present time, likes my brother and we need him to help my father get this business deal to pay our debt by just showing up to the business meeting.

    There's a lot more, but this is the main situation. If anyone can help give advice on how to mediate this situation and also how we can legally get proof about where this loan is from and also gaining credit card statements so we can know how much we truly owe, I would be very grateful.

    It's actually 2:33am here in Korea and I cannot sleep. I haven't slept well since this pandemic started and this month has been the worst. I don't know how long I can carry on like this. I'm utterly depressed at having no life since 2019 and my friends in the UK have moved on. I don't speak the language here as my mother never taught me and I don't have time to learn. I only know the basics.

    I'm really scared and my father feels terrible for believing my brother has changed and allowing him to work for his company. My brother has caused so many problems for our family since he was 17 years old by becoming a violent drug addict which permanently damaged my parents relationship and gave me PTSD. His recent verbally abusive messages and threats trigger my PTSD and I can't focus on work or sleep. My father also made continuous mistakes by always paying for whatever my brother wanted since his late teens right up to his mid-30s, including bailing him out from an angry investor when my brother tried to start his own company, but he doesn't have the work ethic so it failed. My brother is now 41 years old, but acts like a teenager and so does his wife who is one year younger. She keeps typing "hahahaha" after insulting my parents in her text messages while claiming we don't know Korean culture as it was rude to call her parents and yet she's very rude to her own in-laws!

    I'm sorry for the long explanation. I feel like this is going to lead me to becoming homeless and eventually struggling all alone. I really need advice
    Last edited by Lily1983; 22nd February 2024, 18:38:PM.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    You have given a long and complex story, with several threads to unpick. The best advice I can give is to instruct a solicitor and go through everything very carefully with him or her.
    Lawyer (solicitor) - retired from practice, now supervising solicitor in a university law clinic. I do not advise by private message.

    Litigants in Person should download and read this: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/..._in_Person.pdf


    • #3
      Thank you for replying. We can’t afford a solicitor. My brother’s wife said she’s going to ask debt collectors to come to our apartment, but how can that be when the debt is not in our name? Isn’t that “intimidation”? Also she asked my brother to call our client and tell him we are cheaters. It says online that intimidation and slander is a criminal offence in Korea.


      • #4
        I cannot help you with Korean law.
        Lawyer (solicitor) - retired from practice, now supervising solicitor in a university law clinic. I do not advise by private message.

        Litigants in Person should download and read this: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/..._in_Person.pdf


        • #5
          Thank you for replying again. I really appreciate you and other legals giving free advice to strangers online. I'm going to have to somehow find an english speaking pro bono lawyer here in Korea.
          Last edited by Lily1983; 26th February 2024, 02:41:AM.


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