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Kim Kyung-joon Gets 10 Years in Prison

Posted April. 18, 2008 03:21,   

한국어

Kim Kyung-joon, 42, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years behind bars and 15 billion won in fine for embezzlement and stock-price rigging.

The court concluded that Kim was the only party involved in the BBK scandal, which was one of the hot issues of last year’s presidential election season for five months after his abrupt return to Korea in November.

Senior judge Yoon Kyung of the Seoul Central District Court said, “This is a classic case of a crime to get financial gains. Kim diluted the nature of his crime and compromised the function of government agencies by taking advantage of a domestic political situation. The case is not the Korean version of the Dreyfus Affair but a deception set in Korea just like a storm in a tea cup.”

The court decided that Kim committed stock-price manipulation and embezzlement under a carefully choreographed plot from the start.

The court said, “Kim founded a foreign paper company and falsely declared the issuance of new shares to be purchased to boost stock prices. That way he collected 31.9 billion won and willfully took the money abroad.” The court also found him guilty of document forgery. “He used bank accounts under a false name for money laundering. And he also tried to thoroughly cover up his crimes by going in and out of the United States using his dead sibling’s passport.”

Regarding President Lee Myung-bak’s alleged involvement in the case, the judiciary stressed, “The president was vindicated of any allegations through the special prosecutor’s investigation last year. So there is no need to try him again. The central matter of the case is Kim’s misappropriation and stock manipulation, rather than who owned BBK.”

The court pointed out, “Even though Kim was lapped in luxury with the money he had embezzled, he was indifferent to the damage done to the company’s small shareholders. He seemed incorrigible when he showed heavy-handed attitudes towards witnesses in court or when he looked down his nose at small shareholders.”

In a civil trial in the United States, he was ordered to pay a fine of 63.6 billion won this past February. His jail term can become longer if small stakeholders take him to a civil or criminal court, or depending on the investigation into his dubious return to Korea.

Kim, wearing a shroud for the first time in court, did not use hair gel and looked shabby. His mother, who started sobbing before the start of the trial, was taken outside just five minutes after the sentencing.

Kim’s lawyer expressed his willingness to appeal, saying, “One of major witnesses, Kim Baek-joon, a presidential secretary, was not called in as a witness. And that amounts to a summary trial where those with power are not guilty and those without are.”



bell@donga.com