Former Samsung chairman returns to IOC

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Former Samsung chairman returns to IOC

Former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee has regained his membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), officials said Monday, a move expected to help South Korea's efforts to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The IOC made the decision in a committee meeting in Vancouver, where the Winter Olympics is scheduled to kick off on Friday.

Lee voluntarily gave up his rights and duties as an IOC member following his conviction for tax evasion in 2008. He was sentenced in last August to a three-year suspended prison term
and a fine of 110 billion won (US$89.2 million) for illegal bond transactions that caused financial losses to a Samsung affiliate.

Last December, the South Korean government pardoned Lee, enabling him to play a role in helping South Korea's alpine city of PyeongChang bid for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Lee's reinstatement is expected to be a boost for South Korea's latest campaign. The country is bidding for the Winter Olympics for the third consecutive times after it lost to
Vancouver, Canada, and Sochi, Russia, in its two previous attempts.

PyeongChang is competing against France's Annecy and Germany's Munich for the 2018 Games.

The IOC will select the host city in December 2011.

With Lee's return to the IOC as a full member, South Korea now has two IOC executive members, including taekwondo Olympic gold medalist Moon Dae-sung.

Lee, now staying in Seoul, will visit Vancouver to attend the IOC general assembly that starts on Thursday. This will be his first IOC general assembly since he participated in the last

IOC meeting in 2007 when PyeongChang lost the rights to host the 2014 Winter Games to the Russian city.

The 67-year-old tycoon stepped down as head of South Korea's largest business conglomerate in April 2008, which he had chaired for 20 years. [Yonhap]
Related Korean Article

이건희 전 회장, IOC위원 자격 회복

이건희 전 삼성그룹 회장이 18개월 만에 국제올림픽위원회(IOC) 위원에 복귀했다.

IOC는 8일(한국시간) 2010 동계올림픽 개최지인 캐나다 밴쿠버에서 집행위원회를 열고 이건희 전 회장의 IOC 위원 복귀를 결정했다.

1996년 IOC 위원으로 선출된 이 전 회장은 2008년 7월 조세포탈 혐의로 1심에서 유죄 판결을 받자 같은 해 8월 베이징올림픽을 앞두고 자발적으로 IOC 위원 자격을 중단했다. 하지만 한국 정부가 지난해 12월 특별사면을 단행하자 그는 IOC에 복귀 의사를 밝혔고, IOC도 집행위원회 첫날 첫 번째 안건으로 심의한 뒤 복귀를 결정했다.

이로써 한국 IOC 위원은 문대성 선수위원을 포함해 2명으로 늘었다. 이건희 위원은 10일쯤 밴쿠버로 이동해 11일부터 시작되는 IOC 총회에 참석할 예정이다. 이 위원이 IOC 총회에 참석하는 것은 2007년 7월 과테말라시티 총회 이후 처음이다.
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