Lee Myung-bak. Photo: AP

Outgoing South Korean president pardons former aides

The pardons for 55 people included Lee's long-time confidante and former minister Choi See-joong and friend and businessman Chun Shin-il - both serving prison terms for bribery. Former parliamentary speaker Park Hee-tae and an ex-senior political affairs aide to Lee were also pardoned. Both were convicted last year for their roles in a vote-buying scandal in Lee's ruling conservative party.