Lotte group chairman, founder placed under travel ban

July 8, 2016

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) — Prosecutors said Friday they have put travel bans on the chairman of embattled South Korean retail giant Lotte Group and its founder as they widened their probe into allegations of corruption in the conglomerate.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office has barred Chairman Shin Dong-bin and his father and Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho from leaving the country, according to the sources.

Prosecutors have been widening their investigation into the country’s fifth-largest conglomerate since early June over alleged slush funds, embezzlement and other irregularities.

On Thursday, the Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant to formally arrest Shin Young-ja, the eldest daughter of the group founder, on charges of receiving some 3 billion won (US$2.5 million) in bribes from the former chief of a local cosmetics brand. She is also suspected of siphoning off some 4 billion won of company assets from an import distribution firm own by her son.

Prosecutors said they will grill Shin, the first of the owner family put under detention, over diverse issues, from her personal corruption to other wrongdoings committed by the business group.

Lotte, which has sprawling businesses in both South Korea and Japan, has been riddled with a series of scandals since last year including an internal power struggle between Shin Dong-bin and his older brother for managerial control.