Lobbyists ask for pardons for Lee and Shin
Korea’s major business lobbying groups called on the government Monday to pardon top business leaders including Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin.
The request from five business associations came amid speculation that the outgoing Moon Jae-in administration could approve pardons for some highly influential people ahead of Buddha's Birthday on May 8. The five groups are: the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Korea International Trade Association, Korea Federation of SMEs, Korea Enterprises Federation and Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea.
Samsung's Lee was jailed for bribing former president Park Geun-hye and released from prison on parole last August. Lotte's Shin was also convicted of bribing the former leader and given a jail sentence of 30 months, which was suspended for four years.
The lobbying groups said that a pardon would contribute to enhancing social cohesion and economic development.
The KCCI received a list of recommendations from its member companies, although it declined to specify other people that it proposed for pardoning.
The lobbying groups have been active in advocating a pardon for Lee because his status as being on parole is highly restrictive.
An employment restriction imposed on Lee by the Justice Ministry in February is considered the major hurdle. The order bars Lee from working at a public corporation or any entity connected with his crime for five years.
The restriction limits the scope of his business activities including overseas trips and sitting on the board of the electronics maker. Still, exemptions are possible, which Lee successfully used to take a business trip outside of Korea.
“We hope that society could achieve a high level of unity through the special pardons, easing social tensions and disputes,” said KCCI Executive Vice Chairman Woo Tae-hee.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]