This Family Has Been Charged in South Korea’s Giant Corruption Probe

October 18, 2016, 11:17 AM UTC
Lotte Shin Dong-bin Summoned By Prosecutors
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 20: Shin Dong-Bin, Lotte Group Chairman and the younger son of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-Ho, appears at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on September 20, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-Bin appeared for questioning over the embezzlement allegation as a part of widening probe into the country's fifth-largest conglomerate by the State prosecutors. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

South Korean prosecutors will file charges on Wednesday against Lotte Group’s chairman, Shin Dong-bin, father, and brother alleging they committed offenses such as embezzlement and breach of trust worth hundreds of millions of dollars at the family-owned conglomerate, wire service Yonhap reported on Tuesday.

Closing a wide-ranging probe into corruption that has convulsed Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate, prosecutors will announce the results of their investigation into the retail-to-chemicals group on Oct. 19, a prosecution source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The person, who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, declined to comment on whether Shin, 61, will be indicted.

Shin’s father, the 93-year-old Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, and his brother Shin Dong-joo, will also be charged with offenses such as tax evasion and breach of trust, Yonhap reported.

A Lotte Group spokeswoman declined to comment.

The probe has constricted management at Lotte, a household name in Korea, since it flared into public in June, derailing plans for billion-dollar deals and freezing expansion of a group with assets worth 103 trillion won ($92 billion). It also served as the backdrop to the apparent suicide of a leading executive at the group.

Yonhap said on Tuesday that while Shin would be charged with embezzlement of about 50 billion won and breach of trust involving about 175 billion won, he would not be arrested.

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Last month the Seoul Central District Court turned down prosecutors’ request for an arrest warrant for Shin after he appeared at a court hearing, saying it didn’t view detaining the executive as necessary.

Once indicted, appeals processes could mean Shin potentially faces trial in court for many months.

A spokesman for the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office could not be immediately reached for comment.

Update, Oct. 19, 7:17 am ET: Lotte Group’s chairman Shin Dong-bin was indicted Wednesday, along with four of his family members, according to a report.

Shin, who is set to face trial for alleged embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty, cost the conglomerate more than 175 billion won ($156 million) with his actions, prosecutors said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. They also called out “alleged irregularities by the founder of Lotte, 94-year-old Shin Kyuk-ho, all of his children and his third wife, all of whom have various management roles at Lotte,” The Wall Street Journal reported.