S.Korea to pardon ex-Samsung chairman for Winter Olympics

Lee Kun-hee stepped down from his chairmanship in April 2008 after being embroiled in a scandal where executives in the group were indicted.

S.Korea to pardon ex-Samsung chairman for Winter Olympics

South Korea will pardon one of the country's most influential businessmen, former Samsung chairman Le e Kun-hee, for his previous convictions to help its bid to land the Winter Olympics, the justice minister said on Tuesday.

"This decision was made so that Lee could take back his place at the International Olympic Committee and form a better situation for the 2018 Olympics to take place in Pyongchang," Lee Kwi-nam told reporters after a cabinet meeting that approved President Lee's pardon.

Lee Kun-hee stepped down from his chairmanship in April 2008 after being embroiled in a scandal where executives in the group were indicted on suspicion of brokering a sweetheart deal that would allow his children to have a greater stake in ownership of Samsung's de facto holding company.

He was cleared of the charge but handed a suspended three-year jail term for tax evasion.

South Korean presidents have a history of granting pardons to the leaders of its large, family-owned business groups, or chaebol, saying their value to the country outweighs the harm caused by white collar crime.

Critics say the leniency shown for corruption is a hindrance to proper corporate governance, which hurts shareholders and diminishes the global reputation of the country's biggest firms.

While Lee Kun-hee has stepped down from the chairman post, he still owns 3.4 percent of Samsung Electronics. His son Jay Y. Lee was named this month chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics in a management reshuffle.

South Korean newspapers reported that the father and son were expected to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January to meet industry executives.


Reuters

Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2009, 17:06
Add Comment