Date
21 January 2017
Lotte Group, a retail and industrial conglomerate, has 89 South Korea-based subsidiaries. Photo: visitkorea.or.kr
Lotte Group, a retail and industrial conglomerate, has 89 South Korea-based subsidiaries. Photo: visitkorea.or.kr

Lotte chairman apologizes amid corruption probe

Lotte Group’s chairman apologized for a widening probe by South Korean prosecutors into alleged embezzlement, bribery and use of slush funds at the retail and industrial conglomerate, Bloomberg reports.

“I am sorry that this has recently become an issue,” Shin Dong-bin told reporters Tuesday, saying he is hoping for a speedy conclusion to the investigation.

“I feel responsible and I am telling all subsidiaries to cooperate as necessary.”

Shin’s comments come less than a week after South Korean prosecutors raided Lotte’s headquarters in Seoul, prompting the group to shelve plans for its hotel unit’s initial public offering and a takeover bid for Atlanta-based Axiall Corp.

On Tuesday, Shin said he plans to pursue the hotel IPO at a later time.

“We will try to get it done by the end of the year,” he said at a groundbreaking for an ethylene plant, a joint venture between Lotte Chemical Corp. and Axiall, that is due to open by early 2019 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

“It’s a promise I made to the Korean people last time I was at the National Assembly, so I will make sure it gets publicly listed.”

The corruption allegations, come on the heels of a family feud over control of a conglomerate that has 89 South Korea-based units with more than 100 trillion won (US$85 billion) in assets.

 

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