Ex-top official jailed over Hyundai bribes
A South Korean appeal court sentenced a former senior finance ministry official to five years in prison yesterday for taking bribes from the Hyundai Motor group, court officials said.
Overturning a not-guilty verdict by a lower court, the appeals court handed down the sentence on Byeon Yang-Ho.
Byeon was convicted of receiving a total of 200 million won (US$188,000) between July 2001 and April 2002 from Hyundai in return for granting partial debt write-offs for two Hyundai Motor subsidiaries.
A former deputy head of the state-financed Korea Development Bank, Park Sang-Bae, was sentenced by the same court to five years' imprisonment for accepting 100 million won from an accountant working on behalf of Hyundai.
The accountant himself was jailed for three years and six months.
Fake iPhone queues
When Apple Inc rolled out its iPhone in the U.S., some fans paid big money to be among the first to get their hands on the device. In Poland, people are getting paid to line up.
"We have these fake queues at front of 20 stores around the country to drum up interest in the iPhone," a spokesman said.
As part of a marketing campaign ahead of the iPhone's launch yesterday in Poland, the country's largest mobile operator Orange paid dozens of actors to stand in queues.
Apple sold about one million of the new iPhone models in the U.S. around the July launch weekend, but buyers in Poland may be reluctant to pay hefty monthly charges.
There were no queues at T-Mobile's Era stores, which also launched the iPhone yesterday.
Lehman bid shelved
South Korean banks led by Korea Development Bank have shelved plans to buy a stake and management rights in Lehman Brothers due to concerns about its financial health, a report said yesterday.
The state-run KDB and other banks were in talks with the major U.S. investment bank until early August but negotiations failed at the final stage, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said.
Problems with the accounts were more serious than initially believed, an unidentified government official was quoted as saying. "We concluded that it was too risky for KDB to take the deal."
Mexico's economy grew by 2.8 percent in the second quarter of 2008, within predictions revised down last April, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography said Thursday.
Total growth for the first half of 2008 was 2.7 percent. "The Gross Domestic Product rose 2.8 percent in real terms during April to June 2008 compared with the same period in 2007," a statement said.
The primary sector rose 4.4 percent, due notably to agriculture and farming activities. Growth in public services, manufacturing and construction helped the secondary sector increase by 1.3 percent, despite a 9.1 percent drop in the mining sector. The tertiary sector grew by 3.5 percent, with expansion in business, financial and real estate services.