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South Korean president-elect cleared of fraud

South Korean’s president-elect Lee Myung-bak was cleared Thursday of fraud accusations, four days before his inauguration, the New York Times reported.

Mr. Lee became the first president-elect in South Korea to go through a criminal investigation. Lee was alleged to have been involved in stock price manipulation, according to special prosecutor Chung Ho Young. However, Lee’s former business partner Kim Kyung Joon is still on trial on the charges of stock manipulation, embezzlement and forgery.

After being cleared of the allegations, Lee said he wanted to continue with his puplan to improve South Korea’s slowing economy. He plans to ratify a free trade agreement with the United States and have corporate deregulation.

“I am relieved that my new government can now start without burdens,? Lee said. (New York Times)

Despite the allegations, Lee won a landslide victory in the South Korean elections on Dec. 19. Prosecutors were given 40 days to hold an investigation before Lee’s inauguration. After questioning Lee and others, nothing could be found to show Lee did any wrong doing.

The BBC reported that Lee was also cleared of charges that he purchased a plot of land under another name.

Lee’s inauguration is in four days with several international leaders attending the event. A couple of leaders include Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.