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(LEAD) Prosecutors to question Lotte chairman over corruption scandal this week

All Headlines 16:01 April 06, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS background in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Thursday they will question the chief of South Korea's retail giant Lotte later this week over a corruption scandal that removed former President Park Geun-hye from office.

Prosecutors summoned Shin Dong-bin to appear at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Friday at 9:30 a.m. to bear witness to the influence-peddling scandal, they said.

The move came a few days after prosecutors arrested the country's former president on Friday over a string of corruption allegations, including bribery and abuse of power.

Park is suspected of having colluded with her close friend Choi Soon-sil to force dozens of local conglomerates to donate a total of 77.4 billion won (US$70 million) to two dubious foundations allegedly controlled by Choi.

Prosecutors have been expanding their probe to other business groups after indicting Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group's de facto leader, on charges of giving kickbacks to Choi, and in effect to Park, in return for business favors.

They are looking into if the donations made by Lotte were bribes in relation to the company's bid for a duty-free business.

The retail giant was selected by the Korea Customs Service to operate the lucrative shop in Seoul, along with Hyundai and Shinsegae, in December.

Separately, Shin and his family members are standing trial over a series of corporate crime allegations, including embezzlement and breach of trust, at the Seoul Central District Court. They deny the charges.

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin arrives at the Seoul Central District Court on April 5, 2017, to attend a hearing on a string of corporate crime allegations involving his family. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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