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SKorea Gov. Guilty of Taking Bribes

October 5, 1999

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A provincial governor on Tuesday was given a suspended one-year prison term for taking $83,000 in bribes from a now-defunct bank.

Lim Chang-yuel, governor of populous Kyonggi province, which surrounds Seoul, was found guilty of taking the money from failed Kyonggi Bank in early 1998.

He was ordered by the court to pay the same amount in fines that he received as a bribe.

Lim’s wife, Chu Hae-ran, was also found guilty in the case and given a 1 1/2-year jail sentence. She was accused of accepting $333,000 in a separate handout from the same bank.

The couple was accused of receiving cash with a promise to lobby against the central government’s plans to shut down the heavily indebted bank. They returned the money after the bank folded.

A three-judge panel at the district criminal court in the coastal city of Inchon decided that Lim could go free so he can fulfill his duties as governor.

Lim told the court that he received the money as a political donation and spent it on his election campaign in mid-1998. His wife, a medical doctor, said she received the money as a donation for her anti-AIDS campaign.

The case was the latest in a series of corruption scandals that have tarnished the image of reformist President Kim Dae-jung’s government.

Under the previous government, Lim served as finance minister, negotiating a $58 billion International Monetary Fund bailout of the ailing South Korean economy.

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