Bribe-meister Park finally sent to the clink

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Bribe-meister Park finally sent to the clink

Park Yeon-cha, a Busan-based businessman convicted in 2009 for running a massive bribe and influence-peddling network, was finally sent to jail after years of appeals and a retrial.

The Seoul Central District Court convicted Park of evading tax and paying bribes to top government officials and ordered him to pay a 19 billion won ($17.6 million) fine. Park was also sentenced to 30 months in jail.

The influence-peddling scandal that transfixed the nation started in November 2008 when the National Tax Service accused Park of tax evasion. During the prosecution’s investigation, the businessman and long-time patron of former President Roh Moo-hyun confessed to bribing people who served in key posts during Roh’s administration and also those who had served or are currently serving President Lee Myung-bak.

Prosecutors indicted Park on charges of evading a total 28.6 billion of tax. He was also accused of being involved in illicit trading in shares of Sejing Securities and Huchems Fine Chemical, a subsidiary of the state-run National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, also known as Nonghyup.

Park was indicted on charges of giving 2 billion won and $2.5 million in bribes to then-Nonghyup Chairman Chung Dae-kun.

Park was also accused of bribing former Blue House officials and the head of the National Police Agency.

In September 2009, the Seoul Central Court convicted Park of all charges, sentenced him to three and a half years in prison and ordered he pay a 30 billion won fine. But on appeal, the Seoul High Court cut the prison term by one year, saying that Park had paid all the taxes he had evaded.

The Supreme Court in January sent the case back to the Seoul High Court for a retrial.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
박연차, 20개월 만에 다시 감옥으로

파기환송심 공판서 법정구속
징역 2년6월, 벌금 190억 선고
보석으로 풀려나 있던 박연차(66·사진) 전 태광실업 회장이 재수감됐다.

 서울고법 형사1부(부장 조해현)는 24일 뇌물공여 등 혐의로 기소된 박 전 회장에 대한 파기환송심 선고 공판에서 징역 2년6월에 벌금 190억원의 실형을 선고했다. 재판부는 박 전 회장에 대한 보석 허가를 취소하고 그를 법정구속했다. 박 전 회장은 2008년 12월 구속됐다가 2009년 11월 보석으로 석방돼 불구속 상태에서 재판을 받아 왔다.

 재판부는 판결문에서 “박 전 회장이 부정한 수단을 적극적으로 이용한 것은 법을 가볍게 여긴 것이라 볼 수 있다”며 “세금포탈액이 174억원에 달하고 뇌물공여를 통해 공직사회 기강을 문란하게 한 점이 인정된다”고 밝혔다.

재판부는 그러나 286억여원에 달했던 박 전 회장의 세금포탈 혐의 액수를 대폭 낮췄고, 이상철 전 서울시 정무부시장에 대한 2만 달러 제공 혐의에 대해서는 무죄를 선고했다.

 앞서 1, 2심 재판부는 박 전 회장에 대한 공소사실을 대부분 인정했지만, 대법원은 이 전 부시장 부분 등을 문제 삼아 2심 판결을 깨고 사건을 서울고법에 돌려보냈다. 대법원의 파기환송 취지대로 판결이 내려진 만큼 상고가 이뤄져도 판결이 변경될 가능성은 작아 보인다. 이럴 경우 박 전 회장은 남은 형기인 1년7개월을 복역해야 할 것으로 예상된다.

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