Last September, Supreme Porsecutors Office(SPO) investigated the ex-head of Military Mutual Aid Association(MMAA) and his son as they had received 30,000 stocks of Kenertec, a Korean Energy company, from its representative in response to securing investments from the MMAA.

Mr. Wonil Chung, a partner of Chung & Partners, represented the son and succeeded in making the SPO drop the charge and not prosecuting him.

Afterward, the SPO prosecuted only the ex-head of MMAA to the court, but last Friday, Seoul Central District Court sentenced not guilty stating there is no evidence that supports there had happened any illegal activities.

Under Korean Criminal Law, a person who, administering other’s business, receives property or obtains advantage from a 3rd party in response to an illegal solicitation concerning his duty, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 5 yeard or by a fine not exceeding 10 million won.

Established in 1984 as a special organization under the Ministry of National Defense, the MMAA administers assistance for military personnel and veterans. It has 160,000 members and its assets are valued at 7.8 trillion won ($5.94 billion).  The organization has seven businesses and recorded a total profit of 153.7 billion won last year.

This case had drawn big attentions within Korean society because of the MMAA’s powerful position in Korea’s financing & investment market and new government and SPO’s attempt to scrape out public enterprises’ corruption.  But at least in this case, (more…)

Today just a few hours ago, the Seoul High Court sentenced partly not guilty to the head of U.S. private equity fund Lone Star’s South Korean operations (Lone Star Advisory Korea).

Last February Seoul Central District Court had sentenced all guilty and had detained Mr. Paul Yoo, the head of Lone Star Advisory Korea, for stock rigging and misappropriation charges. Also, the court had ordered Korea Exchange Bank and LSF-KEB Holdings SCA, a Belgium-based unit that holds Lone Star’s stake in KEB, to pay 25 billion won ($26.50 million) each in fines, saying both secured unfair profits as a result of the stock-rigging.

The defendants all had appealed and the Seoul Court today reversed and amended the lower court’s ruling, saying “as the Lone Star Fund did actually discuss a capital decrease in a meeting of the board of directors, there had been no falsehood in its reporting of possible capital decrease to the public and therefore no stock price manipulating”.

Also, the High court found not guilty in Mr. Paul Yoo’s tax evasion charge and also found not guilty in 2 out of 4 misappropriation charges against Mr. Paul Yoo.  Finally, the court sentenced  2 and a half year of imprisonment to Mr. Paul Yoo, however, suspended the execution for 3 years.  Mr. Paul Yoo Has been released out of prison today by the court’s decree(see the photo). (more…)

It was reported that a former senior executive at the Korean unit of Lehman Brothers, a U.S. investment banking firm, was arrested for conspiring in one of the biggest stock price manipulations in Korea.  Seoul Central Prosecutors Office said on May 5 it had arrested a 41-year-old former executive director at Lehman Brothers’ Seoul Office. (more…)

On April 17, Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office announced that it has started an investigation whether British American Tobacco Korea(“BAT Korea”), which has the largest shares in Korean tobacco markets, had done illegal lobbying activities in order to downscale the Seoul Regional Tax Service’s probe into its 2006 tax evasion case.  Last year, Seoul Regional Tax Service discovered that BAT Korea evaded taxes on 108.2 billion won ($109.35 million) of profit and other tax evading issues come out.  BAT Korea (more…)

Recently we got a question from a foreigner.  She was wondering if she could take any legal action against her Korean ex-employee who harassed her by spreading false information about her and telling the customers not to do a business with her.

From a perspective of Korean Criminal law, currently there is no general legislation on regulating the harassment or stalking.  The respective laws have its own regulations on which behavior constitutes a certain crime and what remedies the harassed party is entitled to seek.

Generally speaking, a person who defamed another by publicly alleging facts (false or even true) shall be punished by imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor for not more than 2 years or by a fine not exceeding five million won according to Criminal Act of South Korea.

Notably, any person who sends out letters or text messages inflicting fear or apprehension to another person repeatedly shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or (more…)

Previously I had a chance to write a post about a divorce issue when a husband did an act of unchastity.  By the way, what if he did commit an adultery?  It surely not only constitutes a legal ground for divorce in favor of the wife, but also the wife can accuse the husband of adultery to the police.  That is because, according to the Korean Criminal Law, unlikely with the U.S. law, (more…)

For the first time in Korean history a jury sit in on a trial. The Daegu District Court heard a case on Tuesday(February 2) involving a man charged with robbery who requested a jury’s presence.

Under the Korean law, the jury serves in an advisory capacity, and their decision won’t be legally binding as the judge will make the final decision(That is different from the U.S. jury system where the juries deliver verdicts, while judges decide on sentences). Also the Jury trial is not applied to all criminal cases. Only some restricted cases such as murder and robbery can be proceeded under jury trial by the request of the (more…)

On February 1, the Seoul Central District Court found Mr. Paul Yoo, the head of U.S. private equity fund Lone Star’s South Korean operations (Lone Star Advisory Korea) guilty of manipulating the stock price of a credit card unit of KEB. Mr. Paul Yoo was sentenced to five years in jail and ordered to be immediately detained. Also the court ordered KEB and LSF-KEB Holdings SCA, a Belgium-based unit which holds Lone Star’s stake in KEB, to pay 25 billion won ($26.50 million) each in fines, saying both secured unfair profits as a result of the stock-rigging. Lone Star said it would appeal.

It was the first court verdict in a long-running legal battle between South Korean prosecutors and Lone Star’s South Korean operations. This case is important because it could affect British-based bank HSBC’s plan to pay $6.3 billion for a majority stake of KEB, a deal which is pending regulatory approval.

But the regulatory Financial Supervisory Commission said it would delay a decision on Lone Star’s status as a top shareholder in KEB and on approving a sale of the bank until all legal issues over the fund are resolved. Actually Lone Star is fighting back to the Korean prosecutors in 2 legal trials. This case is one part of them, and the other trial involves a former finance ministry official and (more…)