|David Yonggi Cho gets huge fine, probation for embezzlement|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Tuesday, 25 February 2014 05:05 PM EST|
Pastor David Yonggi Cho, founder of the worldâ€™s largest Pentecostal church, received a suspended sentence of three years in prison for embezzling $12 million of church funds.
Cho is the author of several books, including The Fourth Dimension and Unleashing the Power of Faith (both Bridge-Logos Publishers).
In 1958, he founded the Seoul, South Korea-based Yoido Full Gospel Church, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. The church is the largest single congregation in the world, with more than 1 million members.
Cho was convicted Feb. 20 of embezzlement for having his churchâ€™s officials buy stocks owned by his eldest son in 2002. The officials bought 250,000 shares of the stock at four times the market value, according to news reports.
Cho is required to pay approximately $4.6 million in fines as part of his sentence. His son was remanded to three years in prison for his role in the scandal.
The Yonhap News Agency reported that the judge believes Cho should be severely punished for committing breach of trust, especially for a person of his status in society, but gave a light sentence for tax evasion because of Cho's positive contributions to society.
Jennifer LeClaire contributed to this story.