Court denies bail request for Hanwha chairman

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Court denies bail request for Hanwha chairman

A court denied bail for Kim Seung-youn, chairman of Hanwha Group, who was convicted of embezzlement and breach of trust.

In August, the Seoul Western District Court sentenced the 60-year-old Kim, who owns Korea’s 10th largest conglomerate, to a four-year prison term and a 5.1 billion won ($4.5 million) fine for using Hanhwa’s money to pay back debts of companies that he ran under borrowed names and incurring losses to the group by selling stakes to his family at cheaper prices.

The court estimated that Kim caused Hanwha about 480 billion won in losses.

“We couldn’t find any reason to allow bail for Kim whose sentences amounts to the equivalent of 10 years in prison,” senior judge Yoon Seong-won from the Seoul High Court said yesterday.

In November, Kim filed for bail, insisting that his health has worsened and also said it is necessary to prepare for future trials because the case is expected to take months if not years to reach a conclusion, but the court didn’t accept it.

Two other senior executives of Hanwha Group were also convicted. Hong Dong-ok, former chief financial officer for the group, was ordered to serve four years in prison and pay a fine of 1 billion won.

Kim Kwan-soo, former head of Hanwha Resorts, was sentenced to serve two years and six months in jail for helping Kim raise slush funds.

By Kwon Sang-soo, Yonhap [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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