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Court sentences ex-president's brother to 15 months in jail in corruption case

All News 16:47 January 13, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court on Friday sentenced the elder brother of former President Lee Myung-bak to 15 months in jail in a corruption case involving South Korea's top steelmaker POSCO.

The Seoul Central District Court did not immediately detain Lee Sang-deuk, taking into account his age and health

Lee was indicted in late 2015 on charges that he helped three companies gain financially from transactions with POSCO in exchange for peddling influence to solve one of the steelmaker's key problems --- a height limitation on its factory buildings.

The court cleared the charges that he helped one of the three companies -- TM Tech., a small maintenance company owned by his close acquaintance -- secure financial gains from POSCO. But it found him guilty of the charges related to the other two companies.

Based on its not-guilty ruling on the charges related to TM Tech., the court then dismissed bribery charges against the steelmaker's former chief Chung Joon-yang.

The court, also, cleared Chung of the breach of trust charges, saying the evidence was insufficient to confirm his guilt.

Chung has been accused of buying a stake in local plant equipment maker, Sungjin Geotec Co., which was already insolvent at the time of purchase in 2010, causing more than 159 billion won (US$135 million) in losses for POSCO.

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