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Lotte founder vows legal battle against son

Apparently in good health, the 93-year-old patriarch wants his power and money back

Lotte Group general chairman Shin Kyuk-ho on Sunday declared a legal war against his second son and Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin over the succession of the nation’s retail giant.

Lotte Group general chairman Shin Kyuk-ho
Lotte Group general chairman Shin Kyuk-ho
Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin
Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin
The senior Shin also showed his intention to transfer the helm of the 90 trillion won-business empire to his eldest son Shin Dong-joo, who was dismissed from all managerial positions of the conglomerate that encompasses Asia and the U.S. after losing the fraternal competition in August.

“I will file civil and criminal litigations in both Korea and Japan, and will not step back,” Kyuk-ho was quoted as saying in his interview with Chosun Biz, an online business news outlet.

The senior Shin on Thursday filed for an injunction against the Lotte Group management to grant him the rights to look into the company’s fiscal records. Dong-joo on Thursday sued the management of Hotel Lotte and Lotte Hotel Busan, who ousted him on behalf of Dong-bin, asking for his reinstatement as well as about 1.2 billion won ($ 1.04 million) in compensation.

Both threatened to file several more lawsuits to win back the company control.

“Has he (Dong-bin) ever managed to make 100 million won by himself? I want him to pay back all the losses from his private coffer. Get the best lawyer out there,” he reportedly told Dong-joo, referring to Dong-bin’s 1 trillion won-loss from his business venture in China.

The founder implied that Dong-joo is the legitimate successor of Lotte Group.

“Because he (Dong-bin) is not the eldest son (Dong-joo), he made this mess, knowing that he won’t be inheriting Lotte Group,” the senior Shin said. “I gave him several jobs to the dismay of many people, but this is what happened,” he added, and this could be referred to as an expression of regret, Chosun Biz reported.

The 93-year-old tycoon seemed to be in good health, in contrary to Lotte Group’s claim that the elderly father cannot think straight. When asked about the father’s health, Dong-bin had earlier said, “There are things that are hard to tell.”

Shin Kyuk-ho expressed resentment about the comment. “Isn’t it a serious crime to attempt to snap your father’s wealth after calling him mentally unstable and a fool?” he said.

The senior Shin, who established Lotte Group in 1948, is facing demotion to an honorary chairman with no managerial power.

Though he was a charismatic director for 67 years, Lotte Group on July 27 disclosed that Shin Kyuk-ho was dismissed after being caught attempting to sack Dong-bin in Tokyo upon Dong-joo’s request. The infuriated Dong-bin flew over to Japan the next day and fired his own father through the anxious board members, company officials said.

Dong-joo has established SDJ Corporation, named after his initial. The company is expected to work as the control tower of the lawsuits.

The much-accused Dong-bin is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday. Though the main purpose of the event is to show the warehouse of the duty-free items, he is expected to explain about the family tantrums once again.

“We regret that they (Dong-joo and partners) take advantage of the senior general chairman as a tool to maximize one’s appeal. We find it pointless to go over things that have already been verified and confirmed,” Lotte Group stated on Sunday.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)







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