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PM to discuss pardon of Samsung heir Lee with President Yoon

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo speaks during a parliamentary interpellation session at the National Assembly, in Yeouido, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo speaks during a parliamentary interpellation session at the National Assembly, in Yeouido, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Wednesday that he would discuss with President Yoon Suk-yeol about granting pardons to business executives, including Samsung’s de-facto chief and heir Lee Jae-yong, on the occasion of Liberation Day on Aug. 15.

It was the first time for the prime minister to officially mention that he would take the issue to the president.

Han said, “I will propose them (pardons),” in response to Rep. Park Sung-joong’s question at a parliamentary interpellation session about whether he has any intention to propose pardons for business figures, including Lee and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin.

Rep. Park of the People Power Party stressed the importance of Lee’s potential parole in regards to corporate management of the leading semiconductor manufacturer Samsung Electronics, amid intensifying global competition in the market.

Who will be part of the special pardon, however, is uncertain, as Yoon refused to comment on whether he would grant a presidential amnesty for Lee earlier last week. “Up to now, it has been a principle to make no mention at all on the issue of pardons,” Yoon said, upon arrival at his office in response to the question.

Calls for granting pardons to Lee and other business executives have recently grown among leaders of religious and business groups.

Korea Enterprises Federation Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik asked for Lee’s potential pardon during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho. A group of religious leaders in South Korea also sent a petition to Yoon asking for business executives to be pardoned.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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