Ex-President Lee Myung-bak Pardoned By South Korea, Released From Jail.
Lee Myung-bak, a former South Korean president who was imprisoned, was granted a presidential pardon on Tuesday, ending his 17-year term for corruption, according to the justice ministry.
After a Cabinet meeting with President Yoon Suk-yeol, Han Dong-hoon informed reporters that Lee was among more than 1,300 individuals who had obtained special pardons "from the standpoint of wide national unity through reconciliation, tolerance, and thoughtfulness."
The 81-year-old Lee is now serving a 17-year sentence for bribery and embezzlement but was given a temporary release from prison in June due to his advanced age and failing health.
Due to the fact that his release date was 2036, when he would be 95 years old, it was virtually a life sentence.
The former CEO of Hyundai who became president was indicted on 16 criminal charges in 2018 and will be punished in 2020.
He was found guilty of setting up slush funds worth tens of millions of dollars and taking bribes from Samsung Electronics in exchange for the late company chairman Lee Kun-hee, who was imprisoned for tax cheating, receiving a presidential pardon.
Lee was president from 2008 to 2013. He is a self-made man who, before entering politics, was named head of a significant construction company at the age of 35.
While winning the country's bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and guiding it through the global financial crisis, he was condemned by opponents for eroding the country's democratic values and freedoms of speech.
The pardons are the second time Yoon has used his clemency authority since taking office in May, and they take effect at midnight on Wednesday.
Lee Jae-yong, the executive chairman of Samsung Electronics, was one of those who benefited from Yoon's initial pardons in August.
Presidents of South Korea have regularly been imprisoned following their terms in office, generally after their political adversaries occupied the presidential Blue House.
After spent around two years in prison for treason and corruption in the 1990s, former army generals Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo were granted presidential pardons.
Roh Moo-hyun, an ex-president, committed suicide in 2009 after being questioned about graft charges involving his family.
Park Geun-hye, Lee's conservative successor who was impeached in 2017 following a corruption scandal that sparked widespread street protests, was pardoned last year while she was serving 20 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power.
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