The Korea Herald


Orion Group head sentenced to 3-year prison term over slush funds


Published : Oct. 20, 2011 - 15:58

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The chairman of Orion Group was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday for embezzling a massive amount of corporate funds.

Tam Cheol-gon, 56, was detained and indicted in June on charges of misappropriating nearly 30 billion won ($26.4 million) of funds from the confectionery and media group.

Prosecutors have said the son-in-law of late Orion founder Lee Yang-gu secured the slush funds after acquiring expensive artworks at the expense of the firm.

The Seoul Central District Court also sentenced Hong Song-won, head of Gallery Seomi, to a suspended two-and-half-year jail term for helping Tam stash the funds by engaging in the artworks purchase and laundering money via the trades.

An Orion Group executive named Cho was also sentenced to two and half years behind bars for a role in forming the slush funds. (Yonhap News)

Gallery Seomi head Hong acquitted of stashing slush funds

The Korea Herald on Oct. 20, 2011 reprinted a Yonhap News article titled "Orion Group chairman sentenced to prison over slush funds." In the article, Yonhap News reported that Hong Song-won, head of Gallery Seomi, was sentenced to a suspended two-and-a-half-year jail term for helping Orion Chairman Tam Cheol-gon stash the funds by purchasing artworks.

The Korea Herald clarifies hereby that the article contained an inaccuracy. Although Hong was given a suspended two-and-a-half-year sentence for inaccurate accounting issues, the Seoul District Court ruled against the prosecutor's claim that she stashed slush funds for the Orion Group, thereby unequivocally acquitting Hong and Gallery Seomi on these claims.