Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo today was ordered by a South Korean court to pay almost $60 million in damages to the automaker to compensate it for losses resulting from his business decisions, the AFP news service reported.
The ruling in the civil case in the Seoul Central District Court follows Chung's 2008 conviction of embezzlement and breach of trust. He was given a three-year suspended jail sentence before being pardoned by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
"This is a case that reveals the problem of family-run management that focuses on the interests of major stockholders and the executives of Hyundai Motor," the judges' ruling said.
The suit was filed in 2008 against Chung and Kim Dong-jin, vice president of parts supplier Hyundai Mobis, by a group of 14 minority shareholders and a nongovernmental group called Solidarity for Economic Reform.
Kim also was ordered to pay almost $47 million.
Solidarity for Economic Reform called the penalties too low and said it would appeal to a higher court, the Bloomberg news service reported. The group originally asked the court to force Chung and Kim to pay Hyundai 563.1 billion won (almost $481 million).