CHUTZPAH WATCH….From the foreign news file:

Convicted of embezzling $110 million, Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo was deemed too important to South Korea’s economy to be sent to prison, an appeals court ruled late Thursday.

….In reversing Chung’s sentence, presiding Judge Lee Jae-hong told a packed courtroom in Seoul, “I was unwilling to engage in a gamble that would put the nation’s economy at risk,” according to the Associated Press.

….Hyundai managers say Chung is a hands-on executive, and his absence while he was in jail last year, as well as the turmoil the case caused, held up important projects and decisions.

See? That’s why U.S. manufacturing is falling behind our South Korean rivals: we’re too tough on our white collar criminals. Ken Lay should have tried this defense.

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