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Figure skater Kim Yu-na files suit against her former agency

South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na has taken her former agency to court to recover portions of her endorsement money.

Kim Yu-na
Kim Yu-na

Lee Kim & Partners, a Seoul-based law firm representing Kim, said Monday that the skater has filed a suit against IB Sports and that the first court appearance over their case was held last Wednesday.

According to the law firm, Kim claims that IB Sports owes her 894 million won (US$794,766) from her endorsement deals she signed while under contract with that management company.

Kim's deal with IB Sports expired in April last year, and she and her mother founded a new agency named All That Sports. Kim, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and the 2009 world champion, is one of the most popular athletes in the country and is a highly sought-after star among advertisers here.

An official with IB Sports argued that the agency is entitled to its share from Kim's endorsement deals that she reached while with IB.

"We're willing to return whatever she's due, but we also need to get our share," the official said.

Kim had been mired in a legal dispute with another former management firm, too. In April 2007, she switched over to IB Sports while still under contract with International Merchandising Corp., a subsidiary of the multinational management firm IMG. The skater said she chose IB Sports because the previous agency failed to line up enough endorsement deals.

International Merchandising sued IB Sports for damages and claimed IB had improperly tried to entice Kim away from the IMG subsidiary, but a Seoul court ruled in May 2008 that under Korean law, athletes can terminate contracts with agents at their discretion.   

Kim arrived home Sunday from her training camp in Los Angeles and is scheduled to perform at ice shows in May and August. She was scheduled to perform at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo this week, but the event has been postponed indefinitely following a devastating earthquake in Japan earlier this month.

(Yonhap News)

<관련 기사>

김연아, IB스포츠 상대 수익금 반환청구 소송

'피겨 여왕' 김연아(21·고려대)가 전 소속사인 IB스포츠를 상대로 수익금을 돌려달라는 소송을 제기한 사실이 뒤늦게 알려졌다.

김연아의 법률대리인인 법무법인 지안은 21일 지난해 11월 IB스포츠를 상대로 수익배분금 청구소송을 제기해 지난 16일 서울중앙지법에서 첫 재판이 열렸다고  밝혔다. 

지안은 "현대자동차, 국민은행 등이 김연아에 대한 후원금과 광고 모델료로  IB스포츠에 지급한 금액 중 8억9천400만원을 돌려받지 못했다"고 주장했다.

김연아는 지난해 4월 IB스포츠와의 계약이 만료되면서 자신이 주주로 참여한 새매니지먼트사인 올댓스포츠를 설립해 활동하고 있다.

IB스포츠 측은 "김연아는 IB스포츠 소속 때 맺은 광고계약의 일부를 현재까지 연장해 이행하고 있는 데 우리는 이 부분에 대한 권리가 있다고 주장하는 것"이라며 "돌려줄 부분은 돌려주고 받아야할 것은 받겠다는 게 우리 입장"이라고 반박했다.

김연아는 21일부터 도쿄에서 열릴 예정이었던 세계선수권대회가 무산되면서  20일 귀국했다. 한국에서 평창 동계올림픽 유치 활동을 하면서 5월 초 아이스쇼 일정등을 소화할 예정이다.