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Departing SKorean president grants special pardons

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January 29, 2013 07:32 AM EST | AP


SEOUL, South Korea — 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.