State prosecutors on Thursday requested a seven-year jail term for Kim Un-yong, suspended vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for embezzlement and bribery.
The prosecutors also demanded the court hand down a 788 million won ($665,000) fine to Kim on charges of receiving some 810 million won in bribes and diverting more than 3.8 billion won in public funds for personal use.
“The defendant greatly disappointed the public by collecting large amounts of undue profits through his position and stashing more than 7.6 billion won worth of cash at home and in a bank safe,” the prosecutors said during a trial.
They also added that Kim tried to justify his irregularities by saying his actions were for the benefit of taekwondo officials and further tarnished the country’s image by claiming to the world’s IOC members that he is being wrongly prosecuted.
Kim expressed some regrets, but reiterated his previous stance, saying his actions were for the development of the country’s sports.
“I am sorry to have disappointed the public,” he said.
“Although there were some mistakes in the accounting books while we were aggressively working for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and South-North sports exchanges, I ask for leniency because I have been working not for myself, but for the country.”
Kim, a longtime IOC member and once the most powerful figure in the nation’s sports arena, is suspected of misappropriating more than 3.8 billion won in public funds from a number of sports organizations he chaired, including the World Taekwondo Federation and the Organizing Committee for the 2002 Busan Asian Games.
He is also suspected of receiving 810 million won in bribes from two sporting goods companies in South Korea from 1997 through 2002 while he was serving as the head of the Korean Olympic Committee.
Kim allegedly received a total of 589 million won from the former head of Adidas Korea, Kim Hyon-woo, on 13 different occasions in exchange for designating the company as the official supplier of the country’s national athletic teams.
The sentencing hearing will be held at the Seoul Central District Court on June 3.
The news from the Korea Times