Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan mentioned a pardon for entrepreneurs after Minister of Justice Hwang Kyo-ahn’s recent remark on the same subject.
“Entrepreneurs in prison cannot make a decision on investments, and strict law enforcement is of no help for economic revitalization,” the Deputy Prime Minister said on Sept. 25, adding, “I completely agree with the Minister of Justice when it comes to his recent remark about the correlation between law enforcement, delay in corporate investment, and economic recovery.”
The Minister of Justice pointed out on the preceding day that entrepreneurs must not be excluded from pardons just because of their positions. “They should be given an opportunity if they satisfy certain requirements by returning their illegal profits and succeed in winning the sympathy of the general public by contributing to job creation and economic recovery,” he mentioned.
The remarks were welcomed by major business groups, particularly the SK and CJ Groups, that have missed out on investment and new business opportunities due to the absence of their heads. Chairman Cho Suk-rae of Hyosung is currently on trial for tax evasion, embezzlement, and misappropriation of funds.
“An important prerequisite for economic recovery is prompt and timely decisions on investment and employment made by leaders of the business groups,” said an industry insider, continuing, “The CEOs and chairmen of the companies have to be allowed to return to their positions as early as possible to be responsible for large-scale investments.”
However, the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice refuted this idea by saying, “President Park Geun-hye clearly mentioned during her election campaigns that she would limit the pardoning power against chaebols involved in serious crimes.” The civic organization added, “The Korean economy and its democratization will be mired in corruption and unfairness if exoneration is given to those conglomerates engaged in criminal activities.”