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SK President to Finalize List of Pardons

by YuGee / Aug 11, 2016 06:35 AM EDT
Park's confidants summoned by the parliament for the scandal investigation. (Photo by Jeon Heon Kyun/Getty Images)

South Korean President Park Geun Hye will hold a cabinet meeting on Friday, August 12, to wrap up the list of convicts who will be given special pardons next week.

On Wednesday, Presidential spokesman Jung Youn Kuk said that the cabinet meeting will be held Friday morning. The meeting was set following a session held on Tuesday by the Ministry of Justice with the agenda of making a list of convicts who are qualified to receive special pardons.

The President previously said that she will grant special pardons to particular convicts in time for Liberation Day on August 15. Park said "a hopeful turning point to overcome the economic crisis by uniting the nation is needed," indicating that prominent businessmen might be part of the pardon list.

According to a report from the Korea JoongAng Daily, a list that was approved by an evaluation committee, which has Justice Minister Kim Hyun Woong at the helm, will be sent to the Blue House for the president's review and evaluation. The said list will be finalized at the cabinet meeting on Friday.

Based on the statements from some sources at the ministry, the majority of those in the list are inmates convicted of minor crimes, a number of politicians, and some businessmen.

CJ Group Chairman Lee Jay Hyun is predicted to be on the list. In July, he submitted an appeal for his tax evasion and embezzlement sentence, mentioning his poor health condition. In December 2015, Lee was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and was asked to pay a 25.2 billion won ($23 million) fine.

It is usual for presidents in South Korea to grant special pardons on main national holidays, and President Park has issued two series of pardons to date. The first one was in January 2014 for a total of 5,900 inmates convicted of minor crimes, and the last one was on August 13, 2015, which included businessmen.

It is still unknown if Park would allow the reinstatement of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung Youn and SK Group Vice Chairman Chey Jae Won. Kim has already completed his prison term but is still under probation. Reinstating him would enable him to carry out official decision-making duties. Chey was recently released on parole. 

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