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Hanwha chairman excluded due to public sentiment in presidential pardon

[THE INVESTOR] Conglomerate chiefs and high-level officials passed over in the presidential pardon were not included in light of “public sentiment and severity of the crimes,” according to South Korea's justice minister Kim Hyun-woong.

Those passed over include SK group Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won, Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon and LIG Nex1’s Koo Bon-sang. 

Chey, a younger brother of SK chairman Chey Tae-won,  was released on parole last month, and Kim was released from custody in late 2014 on a stay of execution. 

Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-yeon
Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-yeon

For Kim, his record of having been pardoned on two occasions in the past is said to have influenced the latest decision.

“(Chey, Kim and Koo) were not included. I cannot reveal whether they were considered and then rejected. The decision was made after considering the gravity of crime, and public sentiment about laws,” Kim said. 

SK Group vice chairman Chey Jae-won
SK Group vice chairman Chey Jae-won

President Park Geun-hye had said that the economy needs a boost in first mentioning the pardon, fueling hopes that a number of high profile businesspeople would be included. However, CJ Group Chairman Lee Jay-hyun was the only conglomerate-linked figure to be included.

According to the justice minister, Lee’s health was a major factor in the decision.

By Choi He-suk (