January 24 - An official in Gwangju who forged the signatures of South Korea's Prime Minister and Culture Secretary during the city's successful bid to host the 2019 World Aquatics Championships has been given a six-month suspended sentence.
The Gwangju District Court decided not to send Kim Yoon-suk, secretary general of the local Bid Committee, to prison because they decided he had committed the crime not out of personal greed but because he believed it would help the city.
"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 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."
Gwangju, South Korea's sixth largest city located 330 kilometres south of the country's capital Seoul, were awarded the World Championships by FINA in Barcelona last July even though details of the forgery had emerged on the morning of the vote.
Gwangju's Mayor Kang Un-tae later apologised for, what he called, the "shameful" scandal but the South Korean Government later claimed it would withdraw its offer of financial support for the Championships as "punishment".
Following the scandal the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also launched plans to revise laws guiding the South Korean Government's support to cities who want to host major events.
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 is also due to host the 2015 Summer Universiade, for which Kim remains the secretary general.
October 2013: South Korean Government to introduce new rules for bid cities after Gwangju 2019 scandal
August 2013: South Korean prosecutors raid Gwangju Mayor's office over forgery scandal
July 2013: Gwangju Mayor apologises for "shameful" forgery scandal
July 2013: South Korean Government revokes financial support for 2019 FINA World Championships as "punishment" for forgery
July 2013: Gwangju to host 2019 FINA World Championships despite bid document forgery claims