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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 09:10 GMT
Korean president's youngest son sentenced
Kim Hong-gul
Kim Hong-gul finally admitted wrongdoing
The youngest son of South Korean's President, Kim Dae-jung, has been given a suspended two-year prison sentence for receiving bribes from businessmen.


I am a worm, and no man; reproached by men, and despised by the people

Kim Hong-gul
Kim Hong-gul, 39, was also fined 200 million won ($164,000) by a court in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

He is the second of the president's sons to be disgraced for influence-peddling.

Earlier this month, the president's second eldest son, Kim Hong-up, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

Monday's ruling draws a line under the family scandal, which has severely damaged, by association, the government of President Kim.

Statement of regret

Kim Hong-gul was accused of taking 3.7bn won ($2.9m) from Tiger Pools International, a sports lottery firm, and other companies expecting favours.

He was also accused of tax evasion.

Prosecutors had called for a four-year jail sentence. But court authorities said this was reduced after Mr Kim submitted a final written statement regretting his wrongdoing.

"I am a worm, and no man; reproached by men, and despised by the people," he said in a statement.

'Passive' role

Judge Kim Yong-hun said the verdict reflected Kim Hong-gul's "passive" role in influence peddling compared to the more active engagement of his brother.

Kim Hong-gul was on trial alongside Choi Kyu-sun, a former aide to President Kim, and former Vice-Mayor of Seoul Kim Hee-wan.

Mr Choi, who acted a Mr Kim's go-between with businessmen, was sentenced to two and a half years in jail

President Kim has not been personally implicated in his sons' scandals. But he was elected promising to fight corruption and has apologised repeatedly to the nation.

South Korea's voters elect a successor to President Kim on 19 December, who is barred by the constitution of seeking a second term.

See also:

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26 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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