Lotte group chief jailed in court for bribing crony of S. Korea's jailed ex-president

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-02-13 17:05 Updated : 2018-02-13 18:06
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[Photo by Yoo Dae-gil =]

SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Aju News) -- The chairman of South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate, Lotte, was jailed in court Tuesday after he was sentenced to two years and six months in prison on charges of bribing the crony of an ousted ex-president.

A criminal court in Seoul ruled that Shin Dong-bin was found guilty of providing seven billion won (6.46 million US dollars) to a foundation run by Choi Soon-sil, the jailed crony of ex-president Park Geun-hye.

Shin, 62, stood trial as an accomplice in the trial of Choi, who received a 20-year jail sentence for her role in a corruption scandal. The court ordered the collection of seven billion won from the business tycoon.

The court said that unlike other business leaders, Shin made a voluntary donation at Park's request to secure favors for his own interests, hurting fair competition in the business community.

Choi, 61, was accused of meddling in state affairs, siphoning off money from two public foundations created with cash donations from dozens of conglomerates. She was found guilty of coercing business leaders to donate money.

The verdict on Tuesday came after an appeals court last week released Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee after handing down a suspended jail sentence. The son of Samsung's bed-ridden group head Lee Kun-hee was given a five-year prison sentence in August last year for embezzling company funds to bribe Choi.

In December last year, the Lotte chairman received a suspended jail sentence in the separate trial of the group's ruling family accused of privatizing corporate assets to pursue personal interests.

In previous hearings, lawyers have called for mercy, insisting Shin did his best to rescue Lotte, which has been in trouble due to a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over an American missile shield. Lotte has been the prime target of China's retaliatory onslaught that began after the group let US troops set up a missile shield in its golf course.

Lotte has launched a new holding company named Lotte Corp by overhauling four key affiliates to enhance corporate governance, transparency in management, and efficiency.