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Lotte chairman sentenced to suspended 20-month jail term for corruption

Staff Writer |
Chairman Shin Dong-bin of Lotte Group, South Korea's fifth-largest family-controlled conglomerate, was sentenced to 20 months in jail suspended for two years on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.

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The Seoul Central District Court handed down the verdict on Shin, who was charged with inflicting losses to Lotte units through embezzlement and breach of trust. Prosecutors sought 10 years in prison for the chairman.

The court ruled that losses to Lotte units were not deliberately caused, calling it a misjudgment in management. It also said the amount of losses were hard to exactly calculate, sentencing Shin to the suspended imprisonment.

Shin Kyuk-ho, the chairman's father and the group's founder, was sentenced to four years in jail, but he was not put under custody in the court as the 95-year-old was believed to be incapable of serving his prison term normally.

The Lotte founder was fined 3.5 billion won (3.2 million U.S. dollars) for conviction of some of embezzlement and breach of trust charges.

Shin Dong-joo, the chairman's elder brother and former vice president of Tokyo-based Lotte Holdings, was found not guilty, while Shin Young-ja, the chairman's elder sister, was sentenced to two years in prison.

Seo Mi-kyung, the mistress of the founder, get a two-year jail term suspended for three years.

The chairman and the founder were indicted last year on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust as they paid tens of millions of U.S. dollars in wages to family members who had never worked for the company.

The family members were also accused of inflicting losses to Lotte units by forcing subsidiaries to cover losses from each other.

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