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TI-Korea is against pardoning of corrupted criminals

If president Lee continues to violently enforce his wrong policies like this, there is going to be more resistance.

The Korean President’s special amnesty undermines the rule of law. We, Transparency International Korea are against pardoning of corrupted corporate criminals.

  • Recently, Korea’s representatives of 5 economic associations submitted an appeal to President Lee Myung-bak on pardoning of 100 corrupted corporate criminals on Grant Amnesty Day, marking of August 15th’s Independence day. Even without admitting their crime or making promises to never to do it again, 5 economic associations has asked for pardoning of these corrupted corporate officials. Surprisingly, President Lee has accepted their offer and on 13th of August, he has granted amnesty on 34 thousand criminals. In this Grant Amnesty, President Lee pardoned corrupted corporate officials with the purpose of revitalizing economy and about 330 thousand public officials whom were under disciplinary punishment.
  • However, this kind of action by President Lee will incite more embezzlement, tax evasion and spread unlawful collusion between politics and business. This Grant Amnesty by President Lee has given chaos to law and order. Pardoning of punishments that were given less than 3 months, overrides the judicature’s decisions which will be something that has never been done in the history of Korea. How can a ruling party violate a basic law and still talk about abiding the law?

This kind of infirm punishment on corrupted corporate will also create incongruity and Korea will lose credibility internationally. The slogan, “Reviving Economy” of President Lee is just another excuse for granting higher authorities more power. With the loss of international credibility, none of the countries will form an alliance with corrupt businessman and untrustworthy government.

This Grant Amnesty of August 15th cannot expect harmony from the citizens. It is indulgence for corruption and it is a declaration of corruption in Korea. This is internationally embarrassing and also a set back on anti-corruption policies that have been at work for past eras.

  • President Lee’s slogan “Business Friendly” is putting Korea’s integrity on different track. It is being lenient on corporate laws and putting economic offense in unbelievably low priority. In addition to this, pardoning of corporate criminals is making President Lee’s slogan “Business Friendly” as not just pro-corporate, but pro-corrupted corporate. What is urgent is not pardoning of corporate criminals, it is revitalizing economy to enrich the lives of people, producing jobs to reduce unemployment, promoting equal constitutional rights in order to spread law-abiding spirits and increasing the integrity of Korea in order to boost foreign investment. However, this Grant Amnesty on corporate criminals would not be able to contribute to any of these solutions.
  • It is a common knowledge that one country’s level of corruption is in close relationship with economic growth and national per capita income. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index shows that out of 10, Korea has got only 5.1 in 2007, which is 43rd internationally. With the new government in place, Korea’s future of transparency is looking very gloomy. The new government should realize that only thing they can gain from pardoning these businessmen is the dishonor of being called corrupted government. President Lee tends to exemplify the cases of the United States’ economy. Then why does not he mention about the United States’ strict law on corporate corruption? In order for President Lee to consolidate his ruling power, he should reflect on his actions on covering up corruption and institute orderly laws for convictions on corruption.

President Lee’s government should look back on their past actions. If they continue to violently enforce their wrong policies like this, there is going to be more resistance. The warning for them is that a government without confidence from the people will not be able to achieve its goal. Therefore, President Lee’s government should reconsider this and act accordingly in order to stabilize the situation in Korea.


Transparency International Korea is working for clean society free from corruption.

For any press enquiries please contact

Geo-Sung, KIM, Chairperson
T: +82-2-717-6211
E: [email protected]

Sung-Goo, KANG, Secretary General
E: [email protected]

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