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Prosecution demands 9-year sentence for Hanwha chief in retrial

Prosecution demands 9-year sentence for Hanwha chief in retrial

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Published : 2013-12-26 20:52
Updated : 2013-12-26 21:25

(Yonhap) -- The prosecution on Thursday demanded nine years in prison and 150 billion won (US$141 million) in fines for Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn for embezzlement.

In a retrial held three months after the top court sent the case back to the appeals court, prosecutors asked for the same sentence as in the previous trials, noting the seriousness of his crime.

The Supreme Court in September reversed a lower court's ruling on Kim on embezzlement charges and sent the case back to an appellate court to recalculate some of the financial damages incurred on Hanwha Group, South Korea's 10th-largest family-controlled conglomerate.

Kim was charged with using company money to pay back debts of other firms he was running under borrowed names, causing hundreds of billions of won in losses to the group.

"Kim used manipulative tactics to make affiliate companies pay back the debts of a company he owned under a borrowed name," prosecutors said during a final hearing held at the Seoul High Court. "His crime hurt the transparency of the company."

Prosecutors claimed the 61-year-old tycoon caused about 300 billion won worth of financial damages to Hanwha by falsely lending money and selling stocks of affiliates to his relatives at below the market price.

Kim's attorney argued that the estimated damage is 139.3 billion won, citing the appeals court's ruling, and noted the retrial needs to focus on recalculating the damage from a certain real estate deal that did not exceed 20.6 billion won.

The lawyer also said Kim, who appeared before a court in a patient gown and mask, is deeply regretting his transgressions.

The Seoul High Court will hand down a sentence on Feb. 6, court officials said.

A Seoul district court previously handed down a four-year sentence to Kim. However, the Seoul High Court in April commuted the sentence to three years on account of his efforts to recover the losses he caused to the conglomerate using his private money.

Kim, who was sent to prison immediately after the verdict was read in the district court, was released from prison in January after the court accepted his request to temporarily suspend his sentence for health reasons.

Last month, the court again extended the suspension of imprisonment until the end of February, citing his poor health.

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