Officials familiar with decision say convicted former Samsung chairman Lee reinstated in IOC

By Stephen Wilson, AP
Sunday, February 7, 2010

AP sources: IOC reinstates former Samsung boss

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Convicted ex-Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee was reinstated Sunday as a full member of the International Olympic Committee, a boost for South Korea’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Games.

Lee’s rights were restored by the IOC executive board following a recommendation of the ethics commission, several IOC officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn’t been announced.

Lee voluntarily gave up his IOC rights after being indicted in 2008 in a financial and tax evasion case. The South Korean government pardoned Lee last year, clearing the way for his return to the IOC.

Lee’s reinstatement is a lift for South Korea’s latest campaign to host the Winter Games.

The South Korean government has said Lee will be a key figure in the bid from Pyeongchang, which is competing for the 2018 Games along with Munich and Annecy, France.

Pyeongchang is bidding for the third straight time after defeats for the 2010 and 2014 Games, which went to Vancouver and Sochi, Russia. The IOC will choose the 2018 host in 2011.

Lee’s reinstatement follows the pattern of previous IOC ethics cases. French member Guy Drut was provisionally suspended in 2005 after being convicted in a party-financing trial. He was reinstated by the IOC a year later after being pardoned by then French President Jacques Chirac.

Lee stepped down in April 2008 after 20 years at the helm of the Samsung Group after being indicted in connection with losses at a Samsung affiliate and for tax evasion. He later was fined and sentenced to a suspended three-year prison term.

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