A special prosecutor charged with investigating corruption allegations against South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak announced on Thursday that Lee is cleared of all charges.
"We've reached the final destination of discovering the truth and clearing the allegations," Chung Ho-young, the special prosecutor appointed by outgoing President Roh Moo-hyun, said at a nationally televised news conference after wrapping up a 40-day probe.
The South Korean government launched special investigation in late December into financial fraud allegations including Lee set up the now-defunct investment consulting company BBK and was a collaborator in the stock price- fixing and embezzlement allegedly committed by Kim Kyung-joon, who is already under arrest.
Kim was indicted on December 5 on charges of stock price manipulation, embezzlement and document forgery related to the BBK, while prosecutors said they found no evidence linking Lee to the case.
However, Chung Ho-young said Thursday that Lee was found to have no involvement in the stock manipulation.
"The crime was committed by Kim alone. There's no evidence that the president-elect was involved in the embezzlement or shared in the proceeds," Chung said.
"It's a good thing that all the allegations were cleared away again and that the new government can have a fresh beginning," Lee was quoted as saying by his spokesman Joo Ho-young following the conclusion.
"I'd like to return my gratitude by serving the people with a sincere heart and dedicating myself to reviving the national economy," Lee said.
Thursday's conclusion on Lee's fraud allegation was regarded to help Lee clear his way towards economic reform and government restructure during his administration.
Lee's Grand National Party hailed the conclusion and expected victory in April's parliamentary elections.
Lee, who won the presidential election on December 19 last year, will take office on next Monday. The former Seoul mayor and former CEO of Hyundai Construction & Engineering had vowed to revive South Korea's economy and to remain reconciliation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)