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Ex-President Lee, political figures expected to be granted presidential pardons for new year

All News 09:47 December 27, 2022

By Park Boram

SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol is expected to grant special pardons Tuesday for former President Lee Myung-bak, former South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo and other politicians from the rival parties.

Yoon is likely to approve a list of beneficiaries from the new year's special pardons during a Cabinet meeting before Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon unveils the list during a press conference around noon, officials said.

The pardons, effective at the beginning of Wednesday, will mark the second time Yoon has exercised his clemency power since taking office in May. Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong and other business tycoons benefited from Yoon's first pardons in August.

The most high-profile beneficiary of the upcoming pardons is expected to be Lee, whose 17-year prison sentence on bribery and embezzlement convictions was put on hold in June due to chronic illnesses. A pardon for Lee would cancel the remaining 15 years of his 17-year term.

Lee was widely expected to be pardoned in August but excluded at the last minute out of political considerations related to Yoon's low approval ratings at the time.

Former President Lee Myung-bak (L) and former South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo (Yonhap)

Former President Lee Myung-bak (L) and former South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo (Yonhap)

Former South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim, a prominent liberal political figure close to former President Moon Jae-in, is another likely pardon beneficiary. Kim's two-year prison term on opinion-rigging charges is set to expire in May next year.

It is widely expected that Kim would receive a pardon without a reinstatement, leaving him unable to run for elections until December 2027 as before.

Kim had previously expressed a wish not to be granted a presidential pardon and made an accessory in Yoon's pardoning of Lee.

Other likely beneficiaries include Kim Ki-choon, chief of staff to ex-President Park Geun-hye; former Finance Minister Choi Kyoung-hwan; former National Intelligence Service Directors Nam Jae-joon, Lee Byung-kee and Lee Byong-ho; and former senior presidential secretary for political affairs Jun Byung-hun.


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