The boss of the world’s sixth largest car manufacturer has been sentenced to three years behind bars for embezzlement. The ruling from the court in the South Korean capital, Seoul, came as a surprise. It had been expected Hyundai Motor Group’s Chung Mong-Koo would be given a suspended term. The 68-year-old was arrested in April on charges that Hyundai and its affiliates set up slush funds to buy political favours.
However, in an indication of how important Hyundai is to South Korea’s economy, Chung is to be allowed to return to his office while preparing an appeal. Hyundai and its sister company, Kia Motors, account for nearly 7 per cent of the country’s total exports. Hyundai shares dropped more than 3 per cent when the sentence was announced although later rallied.