December 16, 2015 13:11
Lee Jay-hyun of food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group was sentenced on Tuesday to two years and six months in prison for embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion. He was also slapped with a W25.2 billion fine (US$1=W1,183).
But the Seoul High Court in a retrial did not immediately send Lee down, accepting a request last month to suspend his prison sentence until March 21 for hospital treatment.
The impresario suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and kidney disease. His attorney said Lee would re-appeal the ruling.
He was indicted in July of 2013 for breach of trust and embezzling W160 billion from his company's coffers and was sentenced by the Seoul High Court last year to three years behind bars and a W25.2 billion fine.
The Supreme Court, however, sent the case back in September this year, asking the lower court to reconsider the heavy breach-of-trust sentence.
"As the chairman of a major conglomerate, Lee committed crimes such as tax evasion, embezzlement and breach of trust with the aim of increase his personal fortune," the court said.
The sentence is unusually stiff for Korea, where powerful tycoons are often let off with a slap on the wrist.
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