The Seoul High Court has quashed a three-year prison sentence imposed on Hyundai
Automotive Group chairman Chung Mong-Koo over a multi-million dollar scam and
instead imposed a suspended sentence and ordered him to undertake community service
- including delivering speeches on the need for ethics in business.
69, was also asked to pay an 840 billion won ($894.9 million) donation, previously
pledged by the family, in lieu of the jail term.
Hyundai Motor Group chief is now free to run the world''s sixth largest automaker.
The decision not to jail South Korea''s second richest man eliminated concerns
over a management vacuum at the company, which is facing a slowdown in overseas
sales and increasing competition.
ruling could, however, revive a long-held debate on South Korea''s powerful and
controversial "chaebol" - the family-run conglomerates which opponents
say have been given special treatment owing to their importance to Asia''s fourth-largest
Motor is the top enterprise because of its ripple effect on the whole economy.
The accused, Chung Mong-koo, is a symbol of Hyundai Motor and our country''s automobile
industry," Lee Jae-hong, the presiding judge at the Seoul High Court, said
while handing down the sentence.
did ask many people, including restaurant waiters, taxi drivers and reporters.
The ordinary people leaned toward a suspended sentence," he said. "That
means the accused should work hard."
had been sentenced in February for breach of trust and embezzling 90 billion won
($97 million) in company funds through fraudulent accounting. He had been free
on bail pending appeal.
accused the Chung family of raising the slush fund through a Hyundai Motor unit
to bribe government officials, politicians and bankers in return for business
Hyundai Automotive Group, which includes affiliate Kia Motors, is the world''s
sixth largest. It controls 70 per cent of the South Korean auto market and accounts
for 5.4 per cent of the country''s gross domestic product.