The chairman of SK Group, Korea's No. 3 business conglomerate, was sentenced on Thursday to four years in prison for embezzling company funds to make up for losses incurred in futures transactions.
Chey Tae-won (53) was imprisoned immediately after the Seoul Central District Court handed down the ruling.
Chey was found guilty of embezzling W49.7 billion (US$1=W1,090) from two SK Group affiliates in 2008 and funneling the money into a company that invested the money in stock, futures and options.
Chey is not the first chaebol chief who has gone to jail. In August of last year, Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-youn was sentenced to four years.
The latest court decision confirms a shift from the past, when chaebol owners found guilty of financial crimes were usually let off lightly in view of their contribution to the economy.