Departing SKorean president grants special pardons

South Korea's outgoing president has granted special pardons to political allies despite criticism from his successor.

The Justice Ministry says President Lee Myung-bak ordered pardons for more than 50 people at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.

They include a friend from college and an aide seen as his political mentor. Both were convicted of bribery.

The list also includes former ruling party lawmakers and business executives.

President-elect Park Geun-hye's spokespeople have criticized the pardons as an abuse of power. Lee's office denies it.

Park will replace Lee in late February. The two belong to the same conservative party.

Special pardons in the final months of presidential terms are common in South Korean politics.


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, left, talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. During her five-day trip, Suu Kyi is scheduled to attend the opening of the Special Olympics, a biennial global event that South Korea is hosting in the alpine town of Pyeongchang for the first time, organizers of her trip say. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate will then receive a human rights award in the city of Gwangju, where a 1980 uprising was crushed with deadly force by the then-military government. (AP Photo/Lee Jae-won, Pool)