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Son of IOC member wins lawsuit

S. Korean court rules against Utahn in defamation case

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The son of a powerful South Korean Olympic official won a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against a Utah businessman in connection with the Salt Lake Olympic bribery scandal.

The Seoul District Civil Court found Utah businessman David Simmons defamed John Kim, 42, the son of International Olympic Committee executive board member Un Yong Kim and ordered him to pay $18,000 in reparations. The court said it ruled in favor of John Kim because Simmons refused to appear.

Simmons pleaded guilty last August to a federal misdemeanor tax charge related to his hiring of John Kim. His attorney, Jim Holbrook, said Tuesday that Simmons was aware of the lawsuit but was never served. "We chose not to make an appearance in a Korean court action," Holbrook said, adding that Simmons did not intend to pay the $18,000.

"Under American law, truth is a defense to an action like this. The information David has provided to the government is absolutely truthful. Mr. (John) Kim is a fugitive from the American justice system and has renounced his citizenship and apparently doesn't ever intend to return to the United States," Holbrook said.

According to court documents, Simmons helped create a sham job for John Kim with the understanding that the bid committee would pay his salary. John Kim was indicted in September.