Lotte’s eldest son claims turning point in the feud

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Lotte’s eldest son claims turning point in the feud

Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho has given his youngest son and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin a week to turn things back to how they were before the notorious family feud, according to sources close to eldest son and SDJ Corporation Chairman Shin Dong-joo.

Few believe that’s actually going to happen.

During a family gathering to celebrate the founder’s 93rd birthday on Sunday, Shin Kyuk-ho asked his youngest son whether he was responsible for ousting him from the company.

Shin Dong-bin reportedly responded, “I am sorry. I am very sorry.”

The founder then told his younger son that he had a week to restore him to his former position, and a week to do the same for his older brother. Shin Dong-bin agreed to do so.

But when the founder tried to put the promise in writing, Shin Dong-bin refused to sign it and walked out of the gathering, which was being held on the 34th floor of the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul, which the founder is using as an office and residence.

Sources close to the eldest son said the incident was being revealed because the founder was angry at his youngest son and wanted the public to know it.

People close to the older brother Shin Dong-joo expect Shin Dong-bin to follow through with the promise that was made verbally.

Lotte Group, on the other hand, disputes the authenticity of the conversation, saying it’s hard to verify because only a select few family members were present. Lotte Group also stressed that any decision involving governance of the company will be made by its board members and shareholders.

The battle between the brothers for control of Lotte Group reached its peak this summer.

On July 27, Shin Dong-joo and father Shin Kyuk-ho traveled to Lotte Holdings, the de facto holding company of Lotte Group, in Tokyo, Japan, where they attempted a coup by denouncing the chairmanship of Shin Dong-bin.

That backfired the very next day, when Lotte Holdings’ board members voted in favor of Shin Dong-bin and stripped founder Shin Kyuk-ho of his title as controlling chairman, pushing him into an honorary position.

Earlier this year, Shin Dong-joo was fired from all of his management positions within Lotte affiliates, including his position as vice chairman of Lotte Holdings. The reasons have not yet been disclosed.


BY LEE SO-AH [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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