Gwangju skyline
Courtesy of: Nesnad
GWANGJU, Korea, January 25. TWO officials found guilty of forging documents in South Korea's bid to host the 2019 FINA aquatics world championships were handed suspended prison sentences Friday, according to a report by Reuters.

Kim Yoon-seok, the chair of the bidding committee, and a female official only identified by the family name of Han, were given suspended sentences of six months each after it was discovered they forged the signatures of former prime minister Kim Hwang-sik and former culture minister Choe Kwang-sik in documents submitted to FINA as the official bid for the 2019 championships.

Previously, the mayor of Gwangju, Kang Un-tae, was named as the sole person responsible for the forgery scandal, but is not named in the Reuters report as one handed punishment for the crime.

According to the Reuters article, the prosecution initially wanted prison terms of 18 months, but reduced it when they realized the two were not acting out of personal interest and that "the forged documents were immediately replaced causing no additional harm."

The statement from the prosecution also notes that FINA President Julio Maglione petitioned for leniency.

A new law is going through the process of approval that would require the national government to sign off on any bids by city governments to host international sporting events costing $9 million or more.

Gwangju was given the duties of hosting the 2019 world championships last July, two months before Kim and Han were indicted on forgery charges. When word of the forgery scandal came to light last year, the Korean government withdrew funding support of the championships, which would have been 30 percent of the proposed $53.5 million budget.

Reuters article