South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Friday granted a presidential pardon to Samsung heir, Lee Jae Yong, allowing him to return to business activities despite convictions for corruption.
The pardon for the 54-year-old vice-chairman of leading smartphone maker, Samsung Electronics, was the most prominent among the pardons issued for 1,700 people by the president.
Mr Lee, the grandson of Samsung founder, Lee Byung Chul, received a second jail sentence for corruption in 2021 but was allowed early conditional release seven months later.
The presidential pardon means that he is now free to conduct his business activities, lifting the conditions on his release from prison.
However, the Samsung heir faces further proceedings relating to manipulating share prices. He rejected the allegations.
The pardons are to go into effect on August 15, when the country marks liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.
The day is often marked by amnesties or mass pardons.
Among others pardoned this year is the chairman of the Lotte Group, Shin Dong Bin, who was serving a sentence of two and a half years for corruption.
The Samsung heir was found guilty of involvement in a huge corruption scandal centred on former President Park Geun Hye, who was removed from office as a result in March 2017.
In a renewed trial, the court found in January 2021 that Mr Lee had offered Mr Park and one of her close advisers money in exchange for support regarding a transfer in power within Samsung, the country’s largest conglomerate, or chaebol.