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South Korea’s Prime Minister to recommend pardon for Samsung boss

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Last updated: July 27th, 2022 at 12:30 UTC+02:00

Business leaders in South Korea have consistently called on the government to pardon Samsung Group chief Lee Jae-yong. They believe that it’s important for Lee to return to the conglomerate’s leadership fully so that Samsung can play a more significant role in the chip market.

Despite being out on parole, Lee Jae-yong still has to comply with post-prison restrictions that prevent him from leading management decisions. A pardon will enable him to return to his position as the conglomerate’s boss with full power.

A pardon will enable the Samsung heir to return to management

Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to two and a half years in prison back in January 2021 on charges of bribery and embezzlement. He was released from prison on parole in August last year since he had already served 18 months out of his 30-month sentence. He was incarcerated prior to his conviction as well.

He may be out of jail but under South Korean law, he’s subject to a five-year employment ban. Unless a pardon is granted, Lee Jae-yong can’t legally return to management until 2027. Business leaders believe that given his absolute role in Samsung’s investment activities, a pardon is crucial to enable the conglomerate to make major decisions for its future growth.

South Korea’s Prime Minister Han Duck-soo was recently asked in parliament if he would recommend a pardon for Lee Jae-yong. He said that he would indeed recommend it to the country’s President Yoon Suk-yeol. If the president agrees, the pardon may be issued on August 15th which is South Korea’s independence day. Pardons are traditionally handed out on that day.

It’s pertinent to note that Lee Jae-yong’s prison sentence will end this Friday, so this pardon will mostly be symbolic since it doesn’t interfere with his sentence. What it will do is remove the post-prison legal restrictions on his return to management, enabling Lee Jae-yong to take major decisions for Samsung.

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General Lee Jae-yong
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