Tough law on chaebol bosses floated

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Tough law on chaebol bosses floated

Heads of conglomerates may no longer be able to evade sentences for embezzlement or breach of trust under newly proposed legislation by the ruling Saenuri Party.

Representative Min Hyun-joo of the party’s economic democratization committee said yesterday that a draft bill to end lenient treatment for conglomerate heads in cases of embezzlement, misappropriation and other economic crimes will be submitted to the National Assembly today.

Chaebol chiefs often evade sentences in such cases through postponements or being placed under probation.

Under current law, cases of embezzlement and other financial crimes involving 500 million won ($535,500) to 5 billion won can earn sentences of up to three years of imprisonment. A crime involving an amount exceeding 5 billion won can earn a maximum jail sentence of five years but courts often give lighter sentences. Three years is the maximum for which postponement of sentences is allowed.

Under the legislation proposed by Min, conglomerate chiefs who commit economic crimes will have to serve their sentences and may face harsher penalties.

The maximum jail term for embezzlement involving between 500 million won and 5 billion won will be increased to seven years, and to ten years for cases involving between 5 billion and 30 billion won.

In cases involving 30 billion won or more, a jail sentence of more than 15 years or even life imprisonment is proposed in the bill.

Economic democratization and chaebol reform are currently hot topics among both ruling and opposition parties ahead of the upcoming December presidential election.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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