Appeal court releases Orion chairman

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Appeal court releases Orion chairman

A Seoul appellate court overturned a lower court’s prison sentence and handed out a suspended term to the chairman of Orion Group, a major confectionery and media conglomerate, for embezzling a significant amount of corporate funds.

The Seoul High Court yesterday delivered a three-year prison term, suspended for five years, to Tam Cheol-gon, dismissing the previous three-year prison term.

With the suspended sentence, the 57-year-old chairman was immediately released from nearly four months of imprisonment.

Tam, the son-in-law of late Orion founder Lee Yang-gu, was indicted in June last year on charges of embezzling nearly 30 billion won ($26.4 million) from Orion and breach of duty.

The embezzlement case at one of the country’s major industrial groups drew particular attention for Tam’s lavish acquisition of expensive paintings and supercars through the corporate fund embezzlement.

The court delivered the suspended sentence after factoring in Tam’s efforts to redeem the embezzled funds as well as his pledge for reinforced ethical management, court officials said.

In the same ruling, the court upheld a previous court’s suspended two-and-a-half-year prison term for Hong Song-won, head of local Gallery Seomi, for taking out bank loans after illegally using Tam’s paintings as collateral. Yonhap

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