Page last updated at 06:49 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 07:49 UK

President pardons Hyundai's boss

Chung Mong-koo, Hyundai's boss
Chung Mong-koo was convicted in February 2007

South Korea's president has pardoned the Hyundai Motor boss Chung Mong-koo who was found guilty of breach of trust and embezzlement last year.

Mr Chung was given a three-year jail term, which was later suspended.

He was one of 341,864 people pardoned by President Lee Myung-bak to mark Liberation Day on Friday.

SK boss Chey Tae-won, who had been convicted of accounting fraud, and Kim Seung-youn of Hanwha Group, found guilty of assault, were also pardoned.

All three businessmen had received suspended prison terms and are still active in their companies.

Critics have accused South Korea of being too lenient on corporate criminals.

The Justice Ministry said the pardons were meant to help South Korea "break through the serious economic difficulties" it faces.

Of the other pardons, the vast majority were for minor offences committed by civil servants, although 10,416 were for people who had committed criminal offences.

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