The founding pastor of the world’s largest Pentecostal congregation has been sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling… [US12million] in church funds.
David Yonggi Cho, 78, founded Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assemblies of God-affiliated denomination that has grown to more than 1 million members. Last year, CT noted how the pastor emeritus faced indictment for an alleged stock scheme with his son.
Last Thursday, the Seoul pastor was convicted of embezzlement as part of a scheme in which he arranged for the church to buy stock from his son Cho Hee-jun at more than three times the market price.
Church elders have also accused the pastor of embezzling additional funds.
The Seoul Central District Court, which handed down its sentence Thursday, ordered Cho to pay a 5 billion won (US$4.7 million) fine. Cho’s prison sentence was suspended five years; Hee-jun was jailed immediately.