Lee grants special pardons to friend, close associates
Outgoing President Lee Myung-bak issued special pardons to a long-time friend, close associates and others Tuesday despite mounting criticism, especially from his successor, that he is abusing his clemency power in his last days in office.
Lee approved the pardons in a Cabinet meeting, presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha said.
Those pardoned included Lee's long-time friend Chun Shin-il and close political ally Choi See-joong, both of them convicted of bribery charges.
Others included former National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae and Kim Hyo-jae, a former senior political affairs aide to Lee.
Park and Kim were convicted in a vote-buying scandal in a ruling party leadership election.