SEOUL (Reuters) – Jailed former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was granted a presidential pardon on Tuesday, shortening his 17-year prison sentence for corruption, the justice minister said.
Lee was on a list of more than 1,300 people who received special pardons “from the perspective of broad national unity through reconciliation, tolerance and consideration”, Han Dong-hoon told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet with the President. Yoon Suk-yeol.
Lee, 81, who was granted a temporary release from prison in June due to his age and deteriorating health, is serving a 17-year sentence for corruption and embezzlement.
It was effectively a life sentence because he was not due to be released until 2036, when he would be 95 years old.
the old hyundai The CEO-turned-president was charged with 16 criminal allegations in 2018 and convicted in 2020.
He was found guilty of creating slush funds worth tens of millions of dollars and accepting bribes from Samsung Electronics in exchange for a presidential pardon for its late chairman, Lee Kun-hee, who was imprisoned for tax evasion.
A self-made man who was named head of a major construction company at age 35 before entering politics, Lee served as chairman from 2008 to 2013.
He led the country through the global financial crisis and won its bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, but has been criticized by opponents for undermining the country’s democratic standards and freedom of expression.
The pardons, effective at midnight Wednesday, mark the second time Yoon has exercised his power of clemency since taking office in May.
In August, Samsung Electronics executive chairman Lee Jae-yong was among the recipients of the first pardons granted to Yoon.
South Korean presidents have often ended up in jail after their term, usually after their political rivals have moved into the presidential Blue House.
Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, former army generals who served prison terms in the 1990s for corruption and treason after leaving office, won presidential pardons after serving about two years.
Former President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide in 2009 after being questioned over corruption allegations involving his family.
Lee’s conservative successor, Park Geun-hye, was pardoned last year as she served 20 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power after being ousted in 2017 over a corruption scandal that sparked protests by massive streets.

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