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S. Korea president issues controversial pardons to former aides

Published on Jan 29, 2013 10:47 AM
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak at the 21st Asean and East Asia summits in Phnom Penh November 19, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's outgoing president Lee Myung Bak on Tuesday pardoned a host of former close aides and confidantes jailed for corruption, despite criticism from his successor.

The special pardons for 55 people included Mr Lee's longtime confidante and former minister Choi See Joong and friend and businessman Chun Shin Il - both serving prison terms for bribery.

Former parliament speaker Park Hee Tae and an ex-senior political affairs aide to Mr Lee were also pardoned. Both were convicted last year for their roles in a vote-buying scandal in Mr Lee's ruling conservative party.

The list did not include the president's elder brother, Mr Lee Sang Deuk, who was convicted and sentenced last week to two years in jail for corruption.

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