Korea Times

Lotte chief summoned by South Korean prosecutors

Shin Dong-bin to be questioned over private meetings with South Korean President Park Geun-hye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 11:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 11:24am

By Park Jae-hyuk

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was summoned by prosecutors for questioning over the allegation he had a private meeting with President Park Geun-hye to discuss the establishment of the scandal-ridden sports organisations Mir and K-sports.

The prosecution’s special investigative unit summoned the chairman to testify and ask him about the details of the meeting.

Shin was in Japan while other tycoons were summoned by prosecutors last weekend, according to Lotte Group. He came back to Korea, Monday.

President Park allegedly met several conglomerate heads, including Shin, in February. This was followed by private meetings with seven tycoons in July. Prosecutors suspect that the firms were requested by the President to support the two sports organisations during the meeting.

It is alleged that Lotte was requested to pay additional 7 billion won (US$6 million) to K-sports earlier this year, which was returned right before prosecutors began investigating the group.

Meanwhile, the first trial of the Lotte founding families over alleged embezzlement also began the same day at the Seoul Central District Court. The accused members include Founder Shin Kyuk-ho, Chairman Shin Dong-bin, Dong-bin’s older brother Dong-joo and other Lotte officials.

As it was a hearing to finalise the date of the next hearing, none of the accused Lotte officials participated. The court decided to hold the next hearing December 22, accepting the request by Lotte’s 20 attorneys.

The court will conduct trials on three alleged corruption cases at the group the owner family’s embezzlement, the founder’s tax evasion and the illegal approval of Lotte Home Shopping.

Also, the court is considering combining the trial with that of Shin Young-ja, the daughter of Shin Kyuk-ho and a director of Lotte’s hotel business, who is being indicted on similar charges as the other family members.