It’s become a ritual for South Korean business tycoons who break the law: charges of corporate malfeasance, an apologetic bow for the television cameras and perhaps a little jail time.
But for many of these titans, there is a different ending: a presidential pardon.
The last four South Korean presidents have granted amnesty to scores of executives, including heavyweights at the nation’s largest and most influential firms, including Hyundai, Lotte and Samsung.
But that pattern, a relic of South Korea’s economy-first ethos, could be changing.
Clemency is unlikely for Lee Jae-yong, the Samsung scion sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for a bribery scheme...