January 19, 2019

Lotte chief's jail term throws Korean retail giant into disarray

PUBLISHED : February 13, 2018 - 16:31

UPDATED : February 13, 2018 - 21:54

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[THE INVESTOR] Korean retail giant Lotte Group was thrown into disarray on Feb. 13 as a Seoul court sentenced its chairman to 30 months in prison for bribery.

The sentence handed down to Shin Dong-bin, by the Seoul Central District Court, caught Lotte officials off-guard, as they did not expect a jail term. 

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin

"We respect the court's judgment but the outcome is regrettable," Lotte said in a statement.

The conglomerate said it will consult with its lawyers before taking the next steps, though it did not elaborate.

Shin was convicted of giving 7 billion won (US$6.4 million) in bribes to a foundation run by ex-President Park Geun-hye's friend as he sought favors in winning a government license to run a duty-free business in Seoul.

Shin was immediately taken into custody following the court ruling, and was ordered to forfeit the same amount he offered to Choi Soon-sil, Park's longtime friend and confidante, as bribes.

In December, Shin got a 20-month prison term in a separate embezzlement and breach of trust case, but the Seoul Central District Court suspended the sentence for two years.

Lotte said Shin's absence could deal a big blow to a wide-range of issues, such as investments and the listing of Hotel Lotte, as well as overseas businesses. 

By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (

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