Jo Young Nam Receives Sentence At Second Trial For Fraud Case

Singer and artist Jo Young Nam has been declared not guilty of fraud.

On August 17, the appeal for Jo Young Nam’s first trial was held at the Seoul Central District Court where his verdict was announced as not guilty. The court overturned the previous conviction, stating that the first court misunderstood the law.

The court ruled that using assistants in modern painting is not an area for the judgment of law. The court then continued to say that Jo Young Nam had no obligation to state that his assistants had painted the pictures and as a result, Jo Young Nam was found not guilty. After he was declared innocent, Jo Young Nam said that he would continue painting.

In May 2016, a painter revealed that he had been painting instead of Jo Young Nam for years since 2009. He claimed that after he painted 90 percent of a painting based on hwatu [Korean card game], Jo Young Nam would paint over it, sign his name, and release it.

The prosecution charged Jo Young Nam with fraud for selling 21 paintings by two other painters to 17 people for 160 million won (approximately $142,490). Jo Young Nam’s representation had denied the charges by saying, “Most painters have assistants.”

Jo Young Nam’s first trial was held on October 18 of last year, where the court sentenced him to two years of probation with the possibility of 10 months in prison if he committed a repeat offense during his probation period. Both Jo Young Nam and the prosecution filed appeals after this verdict.

At his second trial on July 13, Jo Young Nam’s representation stated, “The defendant consistently spoke about the fact that he used assistants in the media and on TV. Contrary to the prosecution’s argument, he has never hidden the fact that he had assistants.”

His representation continued, “Jo Young Nam drew pictures using hwatu even before 2008. The majority of internationally famous artists use assistants. If they don’t announce that they use assistants, then most of these artists’ works would be illegal. If Andy Warhol were alive, then he would also be accused of fraud.”

Jo Young Nam’s trial, which has lasted for more than two years, has ended with the verdict of not guilty at the appeals court. The question remains if the prosecution will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

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