The 78-year-old pastor of the world’s largest Pentecostal church convicted of embezzling $12 million told his congregation on Sunday that through “this suffering” he had learned that “an individual shouldn’t possess anything.”
“Besides health, status, fame, authority, money… these are all matters that are outside the body and unworthy of any pursuit,” Pastor David Yonggi Cho told Yoido Full Gospel Church, in Seoul, South Korea.
Cho added that he hopes that God forgives him for his actions.
“God forbid, if God calls me back today, I will still be able to go to the Kingdom of God,” he said.
Cho was sentenced to three years in prison last week after he was convicted of directing officials to buy stocks from his son at four times the market price. The church subsequently lost U.S. $12 million, according to The Gospel Herald.
Cho was also convicted of tax evasion.
The pastor, who founded his church in 1958, now must pay back $4.6 million. Cho’s son, Hee-jun, the former CEO of the media company Kookmin Ilbo, was also sentenced to three years in prison for participating in his father’s embezzlement scheme.
Cho’s contrition comes several months after former elder, Ha Sang-ok, said in November that he had attempted unsuccessfully to convince the pastor to end his unethical ways.
Read more: Christian Post