Lotte Group founder ends silence, video clip shows

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Lotte Group founder ends silence, video clip shows

Lotte Group’s family feud has reignited, and it appears founder Shin Kyuk-ho is breaking his silence to defend his eldest son.

On Thursday, the founding family’s eldest son Shin Dong-joo announced that he was suing his younger brother Dong-bin at the behest of their father, showing a short clip of the founder signing a document giving him power of attorney.

However, a source close to the eldest brother revealed more of the clip to the JoongAng Ilbo on Friday during an exclusive interview. In it, the founder himself rebukes his youngest son and orders Shin Dong-joo to file a lawsuit.

The source, who requested anonymity, also added that “the founder himself is considering ways that he might hold his own press conference.”

The video clip in question is reportedly about 30 minutes long and was taken on Sept. 24 at the founder’s office at the Lotte Hotel Seoul in Sogong-dong, central Seoul.

At the press conference, in which he initially revealed the clip, the eldest son had harsh words for his younger brother.

“Shin Dong-bin illegally took away his father’s rights and position at Lotte Holdings out of greed. This is an unsavory action from a moral perspective, as the son has kicked out his father, the founder, who developed the group from scratch,” Shin Dong-joo wrote in a statement read by his wife.

“The founding Shin was outraged by Dong-bin’s actions and signed this letter of attorney that passes down all legal rights to me,” Shin Dong-joo continued in the statement, before showing the press around three seconds of the video clip showing the founder signing the legal document.

At the time, the eldest son declined to reveal more of the clip, saying it included personal discussions among family members.

But in the segment shown to the JoongAng Ilbo on Friday, Shin Kyuk-ho can be seen saying, “Dong-bin is crazy,” adding, “so you [Dong-joo] should hire lawyers from Korea and Japan and clean up the mess via lawsuits and report back to me of all things that happens in the process.”

The remarks apparently came after the founder learned he was being dismissed from Lotte Holdings and Lotte Group’s chair position by his own son.

“In the video, founder Shin Kyuk-ho constantly speaks up to criticize Dong-bin’s moves,” said the source close to Shin Dong-joo. “The founder is currently considering standing in front of the public himself, in order to dispel the public’s view that Dong-joo is using his old father [to defeat his brother].”

Regarding the video clip, a high-level source from Lotte Group said “[Shin Dong-joo’s] side should never have brought the founder into this [lawsuit], and we are also not willing to do that either.

“Legally speaking, our side [Shin Dong-bin’s] has no possibility of losing this legal battle.

“However, we don’t have any intentions to counter-sue, but we’ll defend ourselves, considering public sentiment.”


BY LEE SO-AH [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]

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