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Lotte Group hit by W500m fine for false shareholder reporting

[THE INVESTOR] South Korea’s antitrust watchdog has slapped a fine of 500 million won (US$444,000) on Lotte Group(Chairman Shin Dong-bin) for false reporting of its affiliates’ shareholders.

According to the Fair Trade Commission, 11 affiliates of the South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate, which includes Hotel Lotte, Lotte Logistics and Lotte Corporation, were hit by a combined 570 million won fine on May 27.

Under the country’s fair trade law, companies with assets exceeding 5 trillion won are obligated to disclose stakes held by the company’s head and his or her family members in the company’s affiliates at home and abroad.

Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho (left) and his son, Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin
Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho (left) and his son, Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin

The FTC said the family-run company violated antitrust rules by excluding the company’s 36 affiliates in Japan from disclosure in order to lower the ownership share of the founding Shin family from 85.6 percent to 62.9 percent.

The regulatory watchdog plans to indict founder and honorary chairman Shin Kyuk-ho if the misleading report was intended for unjustifiable reasons.

Lotte Group raised objections against the agency’s decision, saying there was “no intention, but it failed to receive management information from Japanese affiliates.”

The group and its affiliates have been under intensive investigation by prosecutors over slush funds and other charges after a succession feud among the founding Shin family last year drew wide public criticism.

By Park Han-na (">