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Shin Dong-bin moves to secure hold over Lotte

Feb 23,2018
The jailed head of retail giant Lotte has increased his stakes in Tokyo-based Lotte Holdings, the business group said Thursday, apparently to secure his managerial control over the conglomerate despite his resignation from the firm’s co-representative seat.

The board of Lotte Holdings, which effectively exercises control over the conglomerate’s business in Korea and Japan, approved Shin Dong-bin’s resignation on Wednesday.

The decision came after he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in Seoul last week for bribery in relation to a massive corruption scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil. Both Park and Choi have also been sentenced to time in prison.

According to a recent regulatory filing from Lotte, Shin’s shares in the Japanese firm came to 4 percent, up from 1.38 percent - the last known figure for his share ownership - making him the largest individual shareholder of the company.

“It is hard to confirm when, why or from whom Shin purchased the shares, as it is a private matter,” a Lotte official said.

Industry watchers widely assume that the business tycoon bought the shares from his father’s mistress, Seo Mi-kyung, and her daughter, as part of his efforts to secure his grip on the conglomerate which runs sprawling businesses ranging from retail to construction and chemicals.

Shin Dong-joo, the eldest son of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, waged an unsuccessful battle against his younger brother, Dong-bin, to gain control over Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate in past years.

In 2015, Shin Dong-joo was dismissed from his position in Lotte Holdings due to compliance violation and poor management acumen, according to Lotte Group.

Shin Dong-bin, meanwhile, retains his status as a director of the board of Lotte Holdings despite his resignation from the representative post, which he had shared with Takayuki Tsukuda.