South Korea’s current leader issued a special pardon for former conservative President Lee Myung-bak, who had been serving a 17-year sentence for corruption that could have kept him behind bars into his 90s.

Yoon Suk-yeol issued the pardon for Lee, 81, on Tuesday, with it taking effect the following day, the Justice Ministry said in a statement. Lee is the fourth former president to be issued a pardon since the country’s transition to full democracy in 1987.

Lee’s term from 2008 to 2013 was marked by mass protests and renewed tensions with North Korea. The corruption charges against Lee stemmed from a probe of his brother’s auto parts company, which prosecutors alleged Lee used as a way to enrich himself while in office.