A South Korean lower court sentenced a former senior prosecutor to four years in prison Tuesday for offering illegal favors to a company in return for a lucrative business deal for his relative.
But Jin Kyung-joon was acquitted of a separate charge of taking bribes from the founder of the country's leading online game developer Nexon Co.
Jin was indicted on charges of receiving some 950 million won ($814,000) worth of kickbacks from Kim Jung-ju, currently chairman of Nexon's holding firm NXC Corp., from 2005 to 2014.
Kim Jung-ju, the founder Nexon Co. and chairman of its holding firm NXC Corp., enters the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul on Dec. 13. (Yonhap)
The Seoul Central District Court found both not guilty, saying there is not enough evidence to prove Jin peddled influence for Kim or gave him other favors in exchange for the money.
Still, the 49-year-old former prosecutor was convicted of receiving bribes from Suh Yong-won, the chief of Hanjin Transportation Co.
Suh was also sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for two years, for making contracts with the company of Jin's brother-in-law in return for favors from Jin, while serving as the vice president of Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's largest carrier.
The corruption case involving Jin came to light early this year as the then superintendent-level prosecutor reported a whopping increase in his personal wealth in 2015. All ranking government officials and lawmakers here are required to disclose changes in their personal wealth annually.
Prosecutors suspect that Kim gave 425 million won of Nexon's assets to Jin in 2005 for him to buy 10,000 shares of the company, which ultimately helped the senior prosecutor amass some billions of won in profit through stock transactions by 2015. He later gave another 425 million won to Jin so that he could pay back the money borrowed from the company originally, according to prosecutors.
Jin was arrested in July, becoming the first incumbent prosecutor of his level, equivalent to that of vice minister, to be detained on criminal charges. He was dismissed in August.
The prosecution said it will review the ruling and appeal to a higher court. Kim declined to comment on the issue, leaving the courthouse. (Yonhap)