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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sentencing Frightens Seoul Firms

SEOUL -- Jail sentences handed down to several of South Korea's top business leaders sent shockwaves through corporate boardrooms Monday, but analysts said the moguls were unlikely to spend time behind bars.

Putting them in jail would be too great a blow for an economy dominated by family owned conglomerates, some run almost single-handedly by ageing patriarchs, the analysts said.

"I believe the president will pardon them," said Dongbang Peregrine's head of research, Rhee Namuh. "They represent too big a part of the economy."

Rhee said he believed the sentences were intended to send a sharp warning to the conglomerates, which ordinary Koreans fear are growing too big and arrogant.

The stock market slumped ahead of the sentencing.

The composite stock index fell 15.24 points to 766.89, the lowest close since Nov. 4, 1993, when it closed at 766.55.