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Samsung boss Lee Jae-yong, convicted of corruption, gets Presidential pardon

Billionaire Lee Jae-yong, who was convicted of bribery and embezzlement in January last year, will be "reinstated" to give him a chance to "contribute to overcoming the economic crisis" of the country, Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said.

Billionaire Samsung boss  Lee Jae yong convicted of corruption gets Presidential pardon gcw
New Delhi, First Published Aug 12, 2022, 11:58 AM IST

The heir and de facto head of the Samsung Group was granted a presidential pardon on Friday, the most recent instance in South Korea's lengthy history of pardoning businessmen who have been found guilty of wrongdoing on business-related grounds.

According to Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, billionaire Lee Jae-yong, who was found guilty of bribery and embezzlement in January of last year, would be "reinstated" to give him an opportunity to "contribute to overcoming the economic crisis" of the nation.

After spent 18 months in prison, or little over half of his original sentence, Lee—who according to Forbes has a net worth of $7.9 billion—was released on parole in August 2021.

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The five-year post-prison employment limitation will be lifted by Friday's pardon, enabling him to return to work in full. The Justice Ministry issued a statement saying, "Due to the global economic crisis, the energy and vigour of the national economy have worsened, and the economic recession is feared to be extended."

According to the ministry, Lee's pardon was granted so that he could "lead the country's continuing growth engine via active investment in technology and job creation," along with the other high-level executives who received pardons on Friday.

Along with three other businessmen, including Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who was given a two-and-a-half-year prison term in 2018 in connection with a bribery case, Lee, 54, was granted a pardon.

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Prior to the annual Liberation Day commemoration on Monday, the ministry said that 1,693 individuals, including those with terminal diseases and those who were nearing the end of their sentences, were on the list for pardons. The commemoration of the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender in 1945, which ended Korea's long colonial rule, usually involves the release of a large number of prisoners.

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