Prosecution seeks arrest of Lotte chairman in bribery probe

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South Korean prosecutors are seeking a warrant to arrest chairman Shin Dong-bin of Lotte Group in a corruption probe.

The request follows a questioning of Mr Shin last week.

The move is the latest twist in a continuing probe into the country’s fifth largest conglomerate.

The scandal has already hampered a Lotte share sale and is seen as linked to the apparent suicide of a company top executive.

‘Full co-operation’

A Lotte Group spokesman confirmed that Mr Shin was in South Korea and would co-operate fully with the investigation.

“It’s regrettable that an arrest warrant has been sought,” the company said in a statement.

“We will fully present our case during the court proceedings and wait for the wise decision of the court.”

The court hearing on the warrant request is expected on Wednesday or Thursday.

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Shin Dong-bin (left) with vice chairman Lee In-won who died in August

In August, the vice chairman of South Korea’s Lotte Group, Lee In-won, was found dead hours before he was to be questioned in the corruption probe.

Police investigators said the cause of death appeared to be suicide. The 69-year-old Mr Lee was due to be questioned the same day in an inquiry into a possible slush fund and financial irregularities at the company.

Raids on the company’s offices have led to the firm pulling out of a share sale worth as much as $4.5bn (£3bn) for its hotel unit.

Lotte Group has more than 90 firms in sectors as diverse as beer, hotels and chemicals, and has annual revenues of about $60bn, according to the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

It is Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate and is considered one of Korea’s family-run “chaebols” which are known to have complex ownership structures.

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