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Hyundai Securities Co. Ltd. v. Lee

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fifth Division

January 13, 2015

HYUNDAI SECURITIES CO., LTD., Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
IK CHI LEE, Defendant and Appellant.

[As modified Jan. 14, 2015.]

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles, No. BC456484 Ernest M. Hiroshige, Judge.

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COUNSEL

Kim, Park, Choi & Yi, Tony K. Kim, Michael Yi, and Michael Schillaci for Defendant and Appellant.

Lim, Ruger & Kim, Richard M. Ruger, Lisa J. Yang, and George T. Busu for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

MOSK, ACTING P.J.

INTRODUCTION

We hold that under California’s “Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act” (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 1713-1724 (the Act))[1], a trial court may recognize (i) a foreign judgment for indemnification of a criminal penalty paid by plaintiff to an agency of the foreign government; and (ii) a 20 percent postjudgment interest rate on a foreign judgment, as provided by the law of the foreign state; but the trial court, in recognizing a foreign judgment, may not enter a California judgment imposing postjudgment interest on the California judgment at a rate greater than 10 percent as provided by California law. Thus, we affirm the trial court’s judgment recognizing the foreign judgment, but reverse the imposition of a 20 percent postjudgment rate of interest on the California judgment recognizing the foreign judgment.

BACKGROUND[2]

Defendant and appellant Ik Chi Lee (Lee) was the chief executive officer of plaintiff Hyundai Securities Co., Ltd. (Hyundai) from 1996 to 2000. Several individual shareholders of Hyundai brought in Korea a shareholders’ derivative action in the Seoul Southern District Court against Lee, as an officer of Hyundai, for, among other things, securities fraud by Lee during his

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term as chief executive officer of Hyundai (the Korean Action). Lee appeared in and defended the Korean Action.

In the Korean Action, the Seoul Southern District Court entered against Lee and in favor of Hyundai a judgment in the principal amount of 26, 538, 718, 051 Korean Won (KRW) or approximately 24, 000, 000 United States dollars ($), [3] plus prejudgment and postjudgment interest. (Korean Judgment) A component of the damages was KRW7, 000, 000, 000 for a criminal fine paid by Hyundai in Korea for the acts of Lee. The Korean Judgment also provided for ...


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