GWANGJU, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- A district court on Friday handed down a deferred sentence to the secretary general of a local bid committee for the 2019 world swimming championships for forging signatures of ranking officials to win the bid.
The Gwangju District Court delivered a suspended six-month term to Kim Yoon-suk, who was found guilty of forging 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.
"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, however, said that he has taken into consideration that Kim committed the crime not out of personal greed or benefits.
"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 of Gwangju was eventually selected by the international governing body of swimming, known as FINA, as the host of the FINA World Aquatics Championships in July last year.
In the same ruling, another official of the bid committee, only identified by her surname Han, also received a suspended six-year term for the same charge.
Gwangju, located 330 kilometers south of Seoul, is the first South Korean city to win the rights to host the signature FINA event. It will also host the 2015 Summer Universiade, a multi-sport event for university athletes.
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