Lotte chairman charged in connection with corruption scandal

SEOUL - South Korean prosecutors on Monday charged the chairman of retail giant Lotte in connection with the corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.

Shin Dong-Bin is accused of using more than US$6 million (S$8.3 million) to bribe Park and her secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, the prosecutors said on the same day they charged Park with bribery and abuse of power.

Shin, 62, allegedly offered seven billion won (S$8.5 million) to a sports foundation linked to Choi in exchange for a policy favour from Park over Lotte's duty-free business.

Choi is on trial for coercion and abuse of power. She allegedly used her presidential ties to force local firms to "donate" nearly US$70 million to non-profit foundations which she allegedly used for personal gain.

Now Choi faces an additional charge of bribery involving Shin, the prosecutors said.

Park is accused of colluding with Choi and offering policy favours to top businessmen who enriched her friend. These are alleged to include Shin and Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong, who was arrested earlier and is also on trial for bribery.