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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hyundai Chairman Convicted

SEOUL, South Korea -- Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo was convicted Monday of embezzlement and other charges and sentenced to three years in prison over a slush-fund scandal that has weighed on South Korea's largest automaker.

Prosecutors, who have been taking a hard line on corruption in South Korea, last month sought a six-year jail term, calling Chung's alleged crimes grave.

But Judge Kim Dong-oh said the lesser sentence was justified because of Chung's "big contributions to the development of the country's economy" and noted his involvement in charity to atone for his actions.

Still, Kim said Chung's actions were "clearly criminal acts" that "greatly undermined the transparency and soundness of business management and had many adverse effects on our business culture."

Chung will remain free on bail for the time being and does not face immediate arrest.

Chung was absent from work for more than two months after being jailed following his April arrest and entering a hospital for a health exam. He was granted bail in June and returned to work in July.

Chung had apologized for his actions and his lawyers had argued that he be given a suspended sentence -- meaning he would not actually serve prison time unless he was involved in other crimes.

Chung will appeal the verdict, Hyundai Motor said.