Every time I hear that a billionaire has been arrested, I think "doesn't that amount of money make one immune to such things?" Consider this, if you have a billion dollars, that isn't just a billion dollars worth of purchasing power, it is also a billion dollars of influence. If you experience trouble, that's a billion dollars that can work in your favor to make that trouble go away.
A government will send any number of officials after anyone who breaks their rules, but whether it's a military officer, high ranking member of a police force, lawyers, judges, or even the politicians themselves, they are all human. Honor schmonor, at the end of the day they want bigger paychecks. Bribes exist for a reason and with effective bribery, it is surprising that any excruciatingly wealthy people ever go to prison.
Moving back to other methods of avoiding trouble, if those who want to put a billionaire behind bars won't take bribes, there are people who can be paid as "convincers". These people can be paid to make those officials go away or sway their opinions. The Richest doesn't support these practices or encourage them, but they do exist. With all this in mind, there are some billionaires who have not been able to buy their freedom. Here is our look at some of the wealthiest individuals who have come under the scrutiny of the law and served prison time for their actions.
An honorable mention goes to one of the most recent billionaires to get into legal trouble; H. Ty Warner, the creator of Beanie Babies. He kept a pile of money, roughly $106 million, in a Swiss bank and avoided paying tax on it. A couple of months ago he was sentenced to community service and probation rather than jail time. A few other billionaires, such as Bernie Ecclestone; the chief of Formula One, Russian businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov have also run into trouble with the law, but many have either been able to pay their way clear of jail time (Ecclestone) and others are able to use their legions of lawyers to delay process (which Yevtushenkov is doing now). With all the mentions out of the way, on to the list.
12 R. Allen Stanford
11 Thomas Kwok
10 Bernie Ebbers
9 Ding Yuxin (Shumiao)
8 Raj Rajaratnam
7 Bernie Madoff
6 Huang Guangyu and Du Juan
5 Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev
4 Chey Tae-won
SK Group is one of the largest companies in Korea; with interests in energy, engineering, telecommunications and transport, just to name a few industries. The conglomerate was handed down from father Chey John-Hyun to son Chey Tae-Won. After a less-than-spectacular 2011, he was indicted and convicted to embezzlement of over $40 million and sentenced to four years in prison. He is serving time now, but the company is still appealing his sentence, and he maintains his innocence.
3 Alfred Taubman
2 Michael Milken
1 Chung Mong-Koo
Chung Mong-Koo is the chairman of Hyundai, the South Korean automaker. As of 2015, he is worth just shy of $7 billion and is known as an obscenely hard working, family oriented man, who remains one of the most influential figures in that country. At 77 years old, he is considered a man with the attitude of someone far younger, and is probably not going to retire. Back in 2007, he was sentenced to three years in prison for having misused corporate funds. He was in for just a couple of months, but received a pardon due to his contributions to Korean society, in addition to his promise of further donations (over $1 billion) to Korean causes.
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