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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 03:28 GMT
S Korea president-elect cleared
President-elect Lee Myung-bak (file image)
President-elect Lee Myung-bak always denied the allegations
South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak has been cleared of fraud allegations following an inquiry.

"We found the president-elect was not involved in stock manipulation," Special Prosecutor Chung Ho-young said.

The announcement comes four days before Mr Lee, who won a general election in December 2007, is due to be sworn in.

During the campaign he had denied allegations linking him to a 2001 share-rigging scandal, for which an ex-business partner of his is on trial.

He was alleged to have links to the investment firm at the centre of the scandal.

Prosecutors had already ruled that they had no evidence against Mr Lee in early December.

LEE MYUNG-BAK PROBE
5 Dec: Probe by prosecutors clears Mr Lee
19 Dec: Mr Lee wins landslide victory in polls
10 Jan: Constitutional court orders special investigation
21 Feb: Probe by special prosecutor clears Mr Lee

But lawmakers subsequently voted to re-open the case when a video emerged in which the president-elect was shown apparently saying he had established the scandal-hit company.

Mr Lee said his words had been taken out of context.

The probe also cleared Lee Myung-bak of claims that he had purchased a plot of land under a false name.

"Allegations that the president-elect owned the land by using borrowed names are groundless," Mr Chung said.

'Work harder'

In a statement, the president-elect welcomed the decision.

"I thank the people who have given me trust and support so far," he said.

"I think the way to repay this is to work harder and devote myself to serving the people and saving the nation's economy."

Mr Lee takes office on 25 February, following his landslide victory in polls late last year.

International leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are expected to attend his inauguration.

Mr Lee, a former Hyundai executive who heads the conservative Grand National Party, has promised to revive the economy and take a tougher line towards North Korea.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes of upset as Mr Myung-Bak was accused of corruption



SEE ALSO
New S Korean leader to face probe
10 Jan 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Lee wins South Korea's election
19 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea candidate in fraud denial
18 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: South Korea
10 Nov 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: South Korea
17 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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