Sister of Lotte Group chief sentenced to 3 years' jail

Shin Young-Ja was yesterday also ordered to forfeit $1.7million.
Shin Young-Ja was yesterday also ordered to forfeit $1.7million.

SEOUL • A South Korean court yesterday sentenced the elderly sister of the chairman of Lotte Group, one of the country's major conglomerates, to three years' jail for embezzlement and breach of duty.

Shin Young Ja, 74, is the latest member of a South Korean business dynasty to fall foul of judicial authorities amid mounting public anger at the sprawling "chaebols" that dominate the economy.

Lotte, founded by Shin's father, has been the subject of a lengthy corruption probe, but she is the first family member to be convicted.

The Seoul central district court found Shin guilty of receiving bribes from multiple companies since February 2007, in return for business favours related to Lotte's duty-free shops and department stores.

She failed to do business in a transparent and reasonable manner, which is a "basic social responsibility and role" of a corporate leader, a court statement said.

"She should be held responsible and made to recover damages done to Lotte Group," it added.

Shin was also ordered to forfeit 1.4 billion won (S$1.7 million).

There have been frequent scandals at chaebol conglomerates involving top managers bribing officials to curry favour.

Prosecutors are currently probing whether payments made by giant Samsung were aimed at securing government approval for a controversial merger of two of its units in 2015.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Sister of Lotte Group chief sentenced to 3 years' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe