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Duo found guilty of forging signatures in Fina Worlds bid race

A South Korean district court has handed suspended six-month prison sentences to two officials found guilty of forging signatures of senior political figures during Gwangju’s successful bid to host the 2019 Fina World Swimming Championships.

The Yonhap news agency said that Gwangju District Court had delivered a suspended six-month term to Kim Yoon-suk, who was found guilty of forging the signatures of then-Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and former Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik on an early version of a bidding document that guaranteed the central government’s financial support for the championships.

A second official, only identified by her surname Han, also received a suspended six-month term for the same charge. “Heavy punishment is inevitable to prevent the recurrence of similar forgery scandals in bidding for international events,” Judge Lee Dong-ho said in his ruling.

The judge said that in making his ruling he considered that the officials had not committed the crime out of personal greed or benefit. “The forged letters also did not affect the final bidding process as the bid committee later replaced the letters with the original ones when it submitted its final bid,” Judge Lee added.

The southern city was awarded the 2019 Championships last July by Fina, the global governing body of aquatic sports. The event will mark the first time South Korea will host a leading Fina championship.