Chung Mong-Koo, head of South Korean carmaker Hyundai, has had his three-year jail sentence for fraud suspended. Chung Mong Koo joined Hyundai in 1970. Last spring he was charged with breach of trust, and embezzling 785 billion euros. The decision means there will not be a management vacuum, as had been feared. But the ruling could also revive a long debate on South Korea’s powerful family- run conglomerates, which some say have been given special treatment.
Hyundai is facing a slowdown in overseas sales, and increasing competition. Investors had been concerned that uncertainties over Chung could hamper Hyundai’s expansion plans. The carmaker’s shares rose as much as 2.2 percent following the ruling, and closed 0.6 percent higher. Hyundai alone accounts for about 7 percent of South Korea’s total exports.