March 03, 2011 12:05
Erica Kim, the sister of former boiler-room operator Kim Kyung-joon who was found guilty of embezzlement and fraud in a 2007 case known as the BBK scandal, apparently visited Korea on Feb. 25 to sort out her legal problems so that she can regain her qualifications as a lawyer in the U.S.
A source close to Erica Kim said Wednesday, "She wanted to restore her qualifications as a lawyer and said the only way to do that is to sort out her legal problems in Korea."
Erica Kim reportedly made the same comments to Korean prosecutors on Feb. 26.
She was indicted for embezzling W31.9 billion (US$1=W1,128) from Optional Ventures, an investment fund operated by her brother Kyung-joon, as well as making false accusations that then-presidential candidate Lee Myunb-bak was the real owner of the fund. She was also sentenced to six months house arrest in 2008 and three years probation for inflating her income to obtain a loan in the U.S. That sentence led to her disbarment.
She came to Korea just two weeks after her probationary period ended on Feb. 10.
The source said Kim "is in bad shape financially since most of her and her brother's assets have been seized due to the trial." They were seized when the pair lost a civil suit filed by duped investors in Optional Ventures in 2004. The source added the relationship between the siblings has since soured, with Erica Kim frequently blaming her brother for her financial problems. She apparently received psychiatric treatment for depression.
Meanwhile, prosecutors plan to summon her for questioning one more time to determine whether to file criminal charges against her. Earlier, she admitted spreading false rumors about the president but denied embezzlement.
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