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Former KT chief gets one-year jail term in hiring scandal

Lee Suk-chae, a former chairman of South Korean telecom giant KT Corp., was sentenced to one year in prison on Wednesday for ordering the illegal hiring of applicants with ties to powerful figures, including an opposition lawmaker's daughter.

The Seoul Southern District Court handed out the jail term to Lee, saying his involvement the 2012 KT hiring scandal in was ascertained in consideration of the evidence.

Seo Yu-yeol, a former KT president, and Kim Sang-hyo, a former KT executive in charge of personnel affairs, were sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for their involvement in the telecom company's hiring scandal.

Lee Suk-chae (Yonhap)
Lee Suk-chae (Yonhap)

Lee, who served as KT chairman from 2009-2013, and the other former company executives were indicted for being involved in 12 cases of hiring irregularities at KT in 2012.

Lee is accused of giving instructions to provide preferential treatment to 11 of the job applicants with ties to powerful figures, including the daughter of Rep. Kim Sung-tae, a former floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

Lee, who also served as the information and communication minister before joining KT, has denied the charges, insisting that he had simply delivered a list of applicants to his subordinates without giving any instruction to favor them. But Seo and Kim testified several times that they committed illegal hiring on instruction from Lee.

In a court hearing last month, prosecutors demanded a four-year imprisonment for Lee, charging him with obstruction of business.

Meanwhile, Lee has been involved in a separate trial on charges of giving bribes to Rep. Kim in the form of hiring favors. The lawmaker is also a bribery suspect in the same trial. (Yonhap)

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