| The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court뭩 conviction ruling for Chey Tae-won, chairman of the SK Group, the country뭩 third-largest family-controlled conglomerate for embezzling company assets. The top court`s decision was the first sentence of imprisonment given to a head of a conglomerate since it excluded "contribution to economic development" from justifications of leniency in 2009.
SK Group chairman was sentenced to four years in jail for misappropriating 45 billion won (42.2 million U.S. dollars) from SK Group affiliates including SK Telecom Co. The Supreme Court also handed down a three-and-a-half-year prison term to Chey Jae-won, the chairman`s younger brother and SK Group vice chairman, for collusion. The Chey brothers have to serve the prison terms unless they are pardoned or paroled.
The top court said in its ruling that despite the brothers` denial of involvement in the embezzlement, it acknowledged their conspiracy in the crime given the process of the flow of the funds. The top court also said that the lower court`s failure to question Kim Won-hong, SK advisor allegedly involved in the case, was "not illegal" because it falls under the court`s discretion.