Automotive Group Chairman Chung-Mong-koo must wait until Aug. 27 to learn the outcome of his appeal of a 3-year prison sentence.
The jail term was imposed in February, when Chung was convicted of embezzlement and breach of trust. Since then, he has been free on bail.
Seoul High Court justices at first set July 10 as the date for announcing the appeal verdict and postponed to July 31.
However, the judges say they need more time to study last week’s bribery conviction and sentencing of the head of an agricultural cooperative who sold theGroup its headquarters building at a deeply discounted price.
“The (court) needs to look into this very complex case more thoroughly, and so the judges have delayed their decision once again,” a Hyundai spokesman tells Ward's. “We wish the matter could be over next week because of the burden of uncertainty in so many areas, but that isn’t going to happen.
“The chairman comes into work very early every day and leaves late at night,” he adds. “Nothing has changed in his very busy duties. He’s in the middle of building global production facilities and the huge Hyundai Steel blast furnaces and integrated mill in Dangjin.”
Judge Lee Jae-hong is quoted in a Korean wire story as saying, “We need to inquire more into the case to…examine the conviction of Chung Dae-kun, chairman of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation."
Chung Dae-kun, who is not related to the Hyundai chairman, figures prominently in the investigation into illegal Hyundai slush funds set up to bribe public officials and business executives, for which Chung Mong-koo was found guilty.
Chung Dae-kun, who was given a 5-year prison sentence last week, was convicted of accepting a bribe of 300 million won ($325,420) to sell Hyundai a 23-story office tower in Yangjae-dong, Seoul, at a substantial discount.
The building now serves as the global headquarters of both Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. and Kia Motors Corp. The cooperative sold the building for 230 billion won ($250 million), far below the asking price of 300 billion won ($326 million).
Hyundai Vice Chairman Kim Dong-jin was found guilty of paying Chung Dae-kun the bribe and on related embezzlement matters. Kim received a 2.5 year suspended sentence.
Prosecutors alleged Chung Mong-koo directly was involved in the headquarters-building bribe.
Meanwhile, at his recent court appearance, the appeal judges appeared receptive when Chung updated a pledge to donate 1 trillion won ($1.1 billion) to Korean charities in recompense for the problems his trial has caused the nation.
Chung says he plans to donate 100 million-200 million won ($108,466-$216,935) in each of the next seven years from personal funds. This year, he will give the charities 120 billion won ($130 million), half of which he already has deposited in trust.
Chug told the judges he is organizing a committee of cultural, industrial and judicial officials to oversee the fund and determine what charities will be supported.