June 03, 2021 12:18
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday hinted that he is more inclined than before to pardon Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, who is in jail for bribing his predecessor Park Geun-hye.
Asked by the heads of Korea's top conglomerates whether a pardon for Lee is an option, Moon said he understands their "concerns" and that "many Koreans" support a pardon. That sounds markedly more positive than the cagy position he took only a month ago, when he said, "I will listen to the views of the public and make a decision."
Business insiders now expect Lee to benefit from a special pardon on Aug. 15, which is Korea's Liberation Day.
Moon had invited for lunch at Cheong Wa Dae the heads of the country's top four business conglomerates -- SK chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai chairman Chung Eui-sun, LG chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Samsung vice chairman Kim Ki-nam.
He wanted to thank them for pledging to invest W44 trillion in the U.S. as sweeteners during his summit with President Joe Biden on May 21 (US$1=W1,114). Cheong Wa Dae said the lunch meeting aimed to "convey the sincere gratitude of President Moon."
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