Appellate court upholds 30-yr prison term for businessman behind massive fund scandal

An appellate court on Tuesday upheld a 30-year prison sentence for a key suspect in a massive hedge fund fraud scandal.

The Seoul High Court confirmed the lower court's ruling on Kim Bong-hyun, the mastermind behind a 1.7 trillion-won (US$1.28 billion) fraud case surrounding Lime Asset Management Co.

The 49-year-old former chairman of Star Mobility, a small industrial robot manufacturer, was the main financial resource for the now-defunct asset management firm.

Lime Asset was accused of selling and running fraudulent financial products that eventually resulted in the suspension of fund redemption in 2019, amounting to an estimated 1.7 trillion won.

The court found the defendant guilty of misappropriating 125.8 billion won from Star Mobility and other companies.

The court also ordered him to forfeit 76.94 billion won.

"The damage caused by the defendant's crimes is enormous and has not been recovered. Though he played a leading role in the crimes and most of the economic benefits went to him personally, the defendant has shown no remorse and continues to make excuses," the court said.

Kim was arrested in April 2020 and indicted the following month.

After being released on bail in July 2021 during his trials, he fled after cutting off his ankle bracelet in November last year.

Amid rumors that he could have smuggled himself into China on a boat, he was arrested in South Korea the following month.

In July, it was revealed that he had planned an escape with a fellow inmate after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a lower court.


Source: Yonhap News Agency

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