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(LEAD) PM says he will ask Yoon to pardon Samsung heir Lee

All News 16:20 July 27, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with details, background from 2nd para; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Wednesday he will ask President Yoon Suk-yeol to pardon Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, who is currently on parole from a prison term for bribery and embezzlement.

Han was responding to a question during a parliamentary interpellation session about whether he has any intention to propose pardons for Lee, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and other business executives.

"I will propose them," he said.

The president is widely expected to grant pardons on the occasion of Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, is one of the most talked about potential beneficiaries, along with former President Lee Myung-bak.

The Samsung vice chairman was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye and released on parole in August last year.

Even after his prison term ends on July 29, he would still be subject to some restrictions, prompting local business circles to call for a pardon to release him from all such restrictions as well.

Shin received a 2 1/2-year prison term, suspended for four years, in October 2018 in a similar bribery case involving former President Park.

South Korea's top business executives, known as "chaebol," have often received special presidential amnesties for economic crimes under the pretext their return to management will help boost the domestic economy.

When asked about a potential pardon for Lee last week, Yoon said, "Since the past, it has been a principle to make no mention at all on the issue of pardons, such as to what extent it will be carried out."

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo answers questions during a parliamentary interpellation session at the National Assembly in Seoul on July 27, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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