LOTTE GRAFT TRIAL
Group founder and children deny embezzlement, corruption charges
SEOUL that earned US$81 billion (RM358.5 billion) in revenue last year.
The four faced the court to answer questions about whether they were involved in white-collar crime at the conglomerate that operates hotels, theme parks, duty-free shops, chemicals and owns assets including Guylian Belgian chocolates and New York’s Palace Hotel.
After senior Shin ceded control of the business empire he built, his two sons have been embroiled in a power struggle, while daughter Shin Young-ja was sentenced to three years in prison in January on separate charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.
The two feuding brothers barely made any eye contact in the court room though they were sitting only a few feet apart.
Also facing trial with Shin scions is Seo Mi-kyung, the founder’s common-law wife, who has been living in Japan. She has also denied wrongdoing.
Shin Dong-bin has also had to answer allegations from Parliament in a separate case that Lotte gave bribes to foundations controlled by former president Park Geun-hye’s confidante Choi Soon-sil, an accusation the Lotte Group denies.
Lotte’s woes aren’t just confined to the graft trial.
More recently, the group bore the brunt of retaliation from China over the conglomerate’s decision to provide some land for United States deployment of a missile defence system in South Korea.
Chinese authorities have suspended some Lotte Mart stores in the mainland because of alleged fire-safety violations, while a venture with Hershey Co has been told by Chinese authorities to stop production for a month. Reuters
Shin Kyuk-ho, founder and honorary chairman of Lotte Group (in a wheelchair) arriving at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, yesterday. He is facing corruption charges along with three of his children.