South Korean prosecutors charge Lotte chairman over embezzlement

Lotte chairman Shin Dong Bin has been charged over alleged embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty.
Lotte chairman Shin Dong Bin has been charged over alleged embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty.PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL (Bloomberg) - South Korean prosecutors charged the head of Lotte Group over alleged embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty, escalating the crisis at the retail giant, after investigators conducted one of the country's biggest corruption probes in years.

Chairman Shin Dong Bin, 61, is accused of costing Lotte more than 175 billion won (S$215 million), the prosecutors' office said in a statement on its website in Seoul on Wednesday (Oct 19).

They also indicted Shin's older brother and his father, who founded the group, for alleged financial crimes.

The move puts Shin in position to be the most prominent Korean businessman to face trial since SK Group chairman Chey Tae Won was jailed in 2013 for embezzlement.

 

It is the latest setback for Lotte, a conglomerate that has been battling crisis after crisis for more than a year, and putting in doubt as to who will be in charge of a sprawling empire generating more than 100 trillion won in annual revenue.

Lotte Group has said that most of the allegations against the chairman are not directly linked to him as they involve events during the time his father was running the group.