Samsung Electronics vice chairman Jay Y. Lee will receive a presidential pardon on Monday, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice said, paving the way for the heir to the country’s biggest company to regain power at the top.
Lee was paroled from prison last year after serving 18 months in jail for bribing former South Korean president Park Geun-hye. The parole banned Lee from being employed for five years and limited overseas travel. The pardon will erase the 54-year-old executive’s criminal record from his 2017 conviction.
The special pardon will enable Samsung’s de facto leader Lee, the grandson of Samsung’s founder, to officially participate in management, restoring his right to work at the giant tech company. His arrival is expected to help Samsung accelerate its decision-making on major strategies from chipmaking to investment plans.
The pardon comes as the semiconductor industry faces challenges like supply shortages from the coronavirus pandemic, inflation and logistics snags.
A South Korean government official said the special pardons to business leaders, which are in consideration of their roles in leading national growth through technology investment and job creation, will help overcome the national economic crisis.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to start anew,” Lee said in a statement. Lee promised to try harder to give back to society through continuous investment and job creation.
(This article has been updated with Jay Y. Lee’s comments.)