Independent counsel clears S. Korea's next president of financial fraud

An independent counsel cleared South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak of financial fraud allegations Thursday, paving the way for him to take office next week with his mandate unharmed. The announcement put an end to suspicions that Lee colluded in a 2001 stock price manipulation case, a controversy that plagued Lee throughout last year's campaign. "The president-elect was not involved in the stock price manipulation," special prosecutor Chung Ho-young said in a televised announcement of the outcome of a 38-day investigation.