August 12, 2013 11:00
Comedian-turned-director Shim Hyung-rae, who filed for bankruptcy in March of this year, has been relieved of his obligations to repay around W17 billion in debt (US$1=W1,112).
The Seoul Central District Court on Friday relieved Shim of his debt to banks. It said, "In an age when creativity is valued, a healthy society should offer those who fail a second chance."
It explained the intent was to give Shim a chance to "make a comeback" so he could "play a positive role in society," rather than fall behind buried under heavy debt.
The ruling will stand unless his creditors appeal within the next two weeks. It does not affect W891.5 million in unpaid wages of 43 former employees at Shim's production company Younggu Art, but those must be paid by the company rather than Shim himself.
Shim also remains liable to criminal charges such as embezzling company funds or dereliction of duty.
Shim, who rose to fame in slapstick comedy decades ago, became a movie director with Hollywood ambitions, but ran into trouble after several films he made flopped.
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