Lotte founder throws tantrum

World | 21 Mar 2017

The 94-year-old founder of Lotte Group, South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate, threw his cane to the floor of a court yesterday and demanded to know where he was, on the first day of his trial and that of family members.

Shin Kyuk-ho appeared confused as he entered court in a wheelchair, and tried to resist aides' efforts to wheel him out by dragging his feet.

"Lotte is a company that I made, I have 100 percent of the shares, who indicted me?" Shin shouted upon his return to the court, throwing down his cane.

His lawyer said he denied charges of embezzlement and breach of trust, as the first day of arguments got off to a dramatic start, with the judge telling the nonagenarian to be quiet, and aides checking his blood pressure. The investigation behind the trial is separate from the one that led to the recent dismissal of President Park Geun-hye, over suspected corruption linked to dealings with other big conglomerates, including the Samsung Group and SK Group.

In a courtroom packed with lawyers, reporters and members of the public, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, 62, his older brother Shin Dong-joo, 63, and his father, the company founder, appeared as defendants.

Prosecutors indicted 22 people at the end of a probe over several months last year into suspected corruption at Lotte Group.

Shin Kyuk-ho is charged with tax evasion, embezzlement and breach of trust, involving 223.8 billion won (HK$1.56 billion).

REUTERS

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