Lotte founder's daughter summoned by prosecution

Lotte founder's daughter summoned by prosecution

Shin Young-ja, the chairwoman of Lotte Foundation and the eldest daughter of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, appeared at the Seoul Central Prosecutors' Office on Friday morning as a bribery investigation involving the chairwoman continued to deepen in South Korea.

Shin Young-ja is the eldest sister of Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin and SDJ Corporation chief Shin Dong-joo, who continue to wrestle for control over the group.

She is the first person from Lotte's founding family to be summoned by the prosecution since a record-scale probe into Lotte Group, the nation's fifth-largest conglomerate, took off in early June.

"I will humbly co-operate with the prosecution and answer all questions with sincerity. I am sorry," Shin Young-ja told local reporters Friday.

The Lotte Foundation chief, 74, is accused of accepting kickbacks from the now-disgraced former chief of cosmetics brand Nature Republic in exchange for bringing the brand into Lotte's duty-free outlets.

Allegations against Shin say that she received up to 1.5 billion won ($1.28 million) in bribes from former Nature Republic CEO Jung Woon-ho through BNP Trading, a retail consulting company owned by her son.

Prosecutors have reportedly seized additional evidence that Shin granted favors in exchange for bribes in granting a food company entry into Lotte Department Store and another cosmetics firm entry into Lotte Duty Free as well.

On Tuesday, prosecutors had raided the office of a high-ranking executive of the Lotte Foundation in Seoul, who is known to be a close adviser to Shin.

Shin's own home, the offices of Hotel Lotte's duty-free operations and the offices of her son's company BNP Trading were also raided on June 2.

jys@heraldcorp.com

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