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Lotte chairman cleared of business obstruction charges

All News 18:08 April 11, 2016

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Monday they cleared Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin of the charges that he obstructed business, the latest in a series of developments related to the long, drawn-out family feud within South Korea's largest retail giant.

Shin has been mired in a succession battle with his elder brother Dong-joo, who has waged a series of legal battles and negative media campaigns after being stripped of his senior posts in the Tokyo-based Lotte Holdings in early 2015.

Dong-joo, as the elder son of the Lotte founder, has claimed he is his father's hand-picked successor, but Dong-bin argued that his father is unable to make reasonable judgments due to mental health problems.

In December, the group founder Shin Kyuk-ho took legal action against his second son with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, saying that he obstructed business by providing incorrect and exaggerated information in the course of his brother's dismissal.

Prosecutors, however, said there is a lack of evidence to say Dong-bin used his authority to obstruct business operations.

The decision came a few weeks after Shin Kyuk-ho lost his seat on the board of Hotel Lotte, as shareholders agreed not to reappoint him upon the expiration of his term.

In the previous week, the group founder also lost his board seat at Lotte Confectionery Co., a key food unit under the family-run conglomerate with businesses in South Korea and Japan.

Shin Kyuk-ho's representatives said the prosecutors' move was made too hastily without a thorough examination of related figures, adding they will consider appealing the decision.


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