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Samsung's Vice Chairman gets presidential pardon to help fix South Korea's economic crisis

South Korean Flag and Samsung Logo

The South Korean economy has been grappling with constant misfortune for some time now. The past five years of its economy have seen a downward trend of growth from 2017 to 2019, and negative growth recorded in 2020 with 80 percent of households experiencing a loss of income as unemployment tripled. Now, with inflation touching the sky, South Korea is trying to bring Asia's fourth-largest economy on the right track.

Today, one of these tracks has caused a stir with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y. Lee, getting a presidential pardon ahead of the annual Liberation Day. According to the justice minister, Han Dong-hoon, South Korea's President, Yoon Suk-yeol, issued the pardon because the Samsung boss, whose father - also Samsung's previous Chairman - died in 2020, was needed to aid in overcoming "the national economic crisis" of the country.

Han Dong-hoon told a briefing about the decision, stating:

With urgent needs to overcome the national economic crisis, we carefully selected economic leaders who lead the national growth engine through active technology investment and job creation to be pardoned.

Lee was convicted of bribery, corruption, and embezzlement and served 18 months in jail before getting out on parole. The corruption scandal, with which the offenses committed by Lee were connected, also brought down former president, Park Geun-hye. The symbolic pardon now grants Lee the freedom to partake in business activities with almost no legal restrictions and enables him to lead the country's growth engine through active investment in technology and job creation.

Korea celebrates national Liberation Day annually on August 15 with the pardoning of hundreds of prisoners. The Lotte Group chairman, Shin Dong-bin, convicted in a bribery case in 2017, was also pardoned along with three other high-profile businessmen who were on the pardon list this year.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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