Last updated: February 16. 2013 4:35PM - 86 Views

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(AP) A Seoul court sentenced the chairman of one of South Korea's largest industrial conglomerates to four years in prison and fined him 5.1 billion won ($4.5 million) for embezzlement and tax evasion.

Seoul Western District Court said Thursday that Kim Seung-youn used his influence over Hanwha's affiliates to aid near- bankrupt companies run by his brother, causing over 288 billion won in losses.

Experts said the ruling shows a change in South Korea where chiefs and owners of industrial conglomerates known as chaebol have often received pardons and lenient punishment for white collar crimes.

The court said Kim also forced Hanwha's affiliates to sell shares in an oil company to his sister at below-market prices. It said Kim dodged taxes by trading shares under his employees' names.

Associated Press
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