Samsung heir Lee granted special presidential pardon

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday granted his first special pardons to Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and 1,691 others on the occasion of next week’s Liberation Day anniversary.

The government announced the pardons to be effective from Liberation Day on August 15, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Former President Lee Myung-bak had initially been widely expected to benefit from the pardons but was not included in the list.

Also excluded was former South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyoung-soo, one of the closest associates of former President Moon Jae-in.

The most prominent beneficiary is Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee, the report said.

“I will work hard for the national economy,” Lee told reporters in front of the Seoul Central District Court upon the pardon announcement.

Lee is currently standing trial in a separate accounting fraud case involving the 2015 merger of Samsung affiliates.

He was released on parole in August last year while serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term in a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye.

His prison term officially ended July 29, but he still needs a pardon to have all his rights reinstated.

Other business tycoons include Shin, the Lotte Group chairman who was sentenced to a suspended two-and-a-half-year prison term in October 2018 in a similar bribery case involving former President Park, and Dongkuk Steel Mill Co. Chairman Chang Sae-joo and former STX Group Chairman Kang Duk-soo.

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