Jail term sought for Hyundai boss

South Korean carmaker's chairman on trial for embezzlement as workers strike.

    Lawyers for Chung Mong-ku have urged
    the court to be lenient [AP]

    The son, Chung Eui-sun, who is not on trial, is the head of Kia Motors, South Korea's second-largest carmaker and a Hyundai affiliate.
     
    Presenting their case for jailing the Hyundai boss, prosecutors said the gravity of the crimes meant imposing a serious punishment was unavoidable.
     
    South Korean courts have come under public criticism for being too lenient on business tycoons after sentencing high-profile chief executives to suspended jail terms in similar corruption cases.
     
    The verdict and sentencing is expected next month.
     
    Chung has been out on bail since late June, after two months of detention following his arrest in April.
     

    Strike action by Hyundai workers has
    added to the company's woes [Reuters]

    He has apologized to the court and said, if given a chance, that he would make Hyundai one of the world's top five carmakers.
     
    His lawyers have urged the court to be lenient because of the effects his conviction would have on the company and the South Korean economy.
     
    Hyundai and affiliate Kia account for more than 70 per cent of South Korea's vehicle exports, which in turn account for about 10 per cent of the country's total exports.
     
    Adding to the woes created by the trial, Hyundai is also facing a growing row with its labour union which is pressing ahead with plans to step up strike action.
     
    On Monday unionised workers downed tools for eight hours at three factories over the size of a bonus payment.
     
    They plan to hold a longer walkout on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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