Jin sentenced to four years in prison as part of Nexon case

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Jin sentenced to four years in prison as part of Nexon case

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Kim Jung-ju

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced on Tuesday Jin Kyung-joon, former senior prosecutor, to four years in prison for charges of third-party bribery and violating the Act on Real Name Financial Transactions and Confidentiality.

The court, however, found him not guilty of receiving bribes from Kim Jung-ju, founder of the online game company Nexon and CEO of NXC Corporation, a holding company of Nexon. The court also found Kim not guilty of providing bribes.

Prosecutors indicted Jin for allegedly receiving bribes from Kim, which they said amounted to about 950 million won ($814,520). The crux of the case was the 425 million won Jin allegedly received from Kim in 2005 to buy 10,000 Nexon shares.

“Jin and Kim were close friends before Jin became a senior prosecutor and before Kim began his business,” said the court. “Just because Jin was a prosecutor does not mean the money he received was in return for a favor.”

The court added, “Jin and Kim’s work didn’t cross paths in the 10 years since Jin received the money from Kim. Kim was investigated by the Financial Supervisory Service in 2014, but there is no evidence that he requested a favor from Jin.

“The court judged that the possibility of Kim dabbling in illegal businesses is low, and therefore that it is unlikely the money he gave Jin was in expectation of a favor from Jin in the future.”

Jin was cleared of all bribery charges concerning Kim, including the allegation that he received as a bribe a Hyundai Genesis leased by NXC Corporation, or that he received from Kim some 50 million won over the course of 11 transactions to pay for family vacation trips.

Prosecutors said they will file an appeal. They had asked the court to sentence Jin to 13 years in prison and 13 billion won in fines, and Kim to two years and six months of imprisonment last month.

“We will file an appeal to the court after analyzing every section of the court’s judgement,” said a prosecution official.

Jin was ruled guilty, however, of pressuring Hanjin Group, which owns Korean Air, to sign deals with his brother-in-law, who runs a cleaning company, as a favor after the company won a tax evasion case dealt by Jin’s prosecution team in 2009. The CEO of Hanjin Group, Seo Yong-won, was sentenced to a one-year jail term with two years of probation.

Jin was also ruled guilty of violating the Act on Real Name Financial Transactions and Confidentiality. After Jin paid Kim back the money he used in buying the Nexon shares in 2005, Kim sent back the money to Jin by way of his relative’s bank account.

The case gained traction in the media when Jin’s sale of Nexon shares was revealed by the Government Public Ethics Committee. The committee discovered on March 25 that Jin received some 12 billion won from a sale of his shares, and suspected that Jin took advantage of his public office and internal relations with Nexon stakeholders in this extraordinary profit.

Jin sold the shares he bought in 2005 with Kim’s money for 1 billion won in 2006, and with that, he bought 8,537 shares of Nexon Japan and sold those for some 12 billion won.

BY KIM SUN-MI, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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