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Kang Geum-won on the Pardon List

Posted May. 13, 2005 23:33,   


The Ministry of Justice announced on May 13 that, marking Buddha’s Birthday, a special pardon and restoration of rights would be granted for 31 businessmen as of May 15, including Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo of Samsung Group’s corporate restructuring office and 11 others involved in illegal funding during the last presidential election campaigns.

Vice Chairman Kang Yoo-sik of LG Group, Vice Chairman Kim Dong-jin of Hyundai Motors and President Shin Dong-in of Lotte Shopping are also among those who will be granted special pardons and restoration of rights regarding illegal funding for the presidential election.

All of these individuals are currently on a stay of prosecutions after being sentenced for violations of the political funding law.

Also on the pardon list is Chairman Kang Geum-won of Changshin Textile, a close aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, stirring a controversy over whether he was put onto the “special pardon bandwagon” by being classified into the group of “businessmen related to the illicit funding for the presidential election.”

Kang had been taken into custody during the investigations on illegal presidential election funds, but unlike other businessmen that were classified as “related to illicit funding for the presidential election,” he was instead convicted of personal crimes such as embezzlement and tax evasion.

Even among businessmen involved in the illicit presidential election funding, those who were sentenced to fines or whose trials are currently under way are excluded from this special pardon.

Chairman Cho Yang-ho of Hanjin Group, former Vice Chairman Shim I-taek of Korean Air and Chairman Kang Byung-joong of Nexen are not on the pardon list as they were punished with fines.

Other than those involved in the illegal presidential election funding, special pardons and the restoration of rights will also be granted for nine businessmen related to the accounting frauds, including former Vice President Kim Seok-hwan of Daewoo Motors, and 10 businessmen involved in unfair financial aid to insolvent affiliates with former President Ahn Byung-cheol of Koryeo Petrochemicals.

“It should be taken into account that those incidents of accounting fraud and unfair financial aid to insolvent affiliates happened at a time when a transparent corporate accounting practice was yet to be established. Since then, businesses have made strenuous efforts to enhance transparency in their corporate accounting, and this is why we included some of these relevant businessmen on the list for special pardon,” said a Justice Ministry official.

Jin-Young Hwang buddy@donga.com