Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-youn was jailed for four years on Thursday for causing W302.4 billion in losses to his conglomerate and evading W1.5 billion in taxes (US$1=W1,135). He was also fined W5.1 billion.
Kim is the first head of a major conglomerate to be jailed. Business tycoons found guilty of financial crimes, who include some of the biggest names in Korea, have traditionally been treated deferentially by the courts and let off lightly.
According to Chaebul.com, a conglomerate research firm, seven heads of family-owned conglomerates have been indicted for financial crimes since 1990, and all of them received suspended sentences and were eventually pardoned by the president.