President to grant special pardons

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President to grant special pardons


President Lee Myung-bak plans to grant special pardons to the brother of late former President Roh Moo-hyun and a top aide to Park Geun-hye, an ex-leader of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) who is considered to be a political rival of Lee, officials at Lee’s office said yesterday.

The two will be included on a list of about 2,000 convicts to receive special pardons on the occasion of Liberation Day on Aug. 15, they added.

South Korea’s president regularly doles out such pardons in celebrating the anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.

The planned pardon for Roh Geon-pyeong and Suh Chung-won, who leads a GNP faction loyal to Park, apparently reflects the president’s efforts to boost social unity as he begins the second half of his single five-year tenure.

Roh, 68, was sentenced to two years and six months in jail and a 300 million won ($250,000) fine for receiving kickbacks in return for influencing Nonghyup’s takeover of Sejong Securities in 2006. He has already paid off the fine.

Suh has served six months of a 18-month jail term for accepting illegal political funds. Kim One-ki, a former National Assembly speaker who belongs to the main opposition Democratic Party, will also be pardoned.

Lee is scheduled to convene a cabinet meeting on Friday to formally approve the list of those to be pardoned.

A number of business leaders will be included on the list, such as Samsung Electronics adviser Lee Hak-soo, Dongbu Group chairman Kim Jun-ki and former Haitai Group Chairman Park Kun-bae.

But Kim Woo-choong, former chairman of the now defunct Daewoo Group, and Chung Tae-soo, once Hanbo Group chairman, are not on the list, as they have yet to pay off their fines.

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