SEOUL – President Yoon Suk Yeol granted special pardons Tuesday to former President Lee Myung-bak, former South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyoung-soo, and other politicians from the rival parties.
The pardons, effective at the beginning of Wednesday, 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 latest pardons is Lee, whose 17-year prison sentence on bribery and embezzlement convictions was put on hold in June due to chronic illnesses. The pardon for Lee cancels 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 South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim, a prominent liberal political figure close to former President Moon Jae-in, was another key pardon beneficiary. Kim's two-year prison term on opinion-rigging charges was set to expire in May next year.
The pardon for Kim, however, came without a reinstatement, leaving him unable to run for office until May 2028 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 beneficiaries included 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. (Yonhap)