Lotte scion’s brother denounces him againShin Dong-joo, the ousted leader of Lotte Holdings and eldest son of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, once again condemned his younger brother for misleading the family business empire, a move that seems to set the tone for an upcoming board meeting in Japan and is a response to his younger brother’s appearance before reporters a day earlier.
“Shin Dong-bin, who is at the center of the current crisis, should immediately return to Korea and hold a press conference to explain allegations listed under his name,” Shin Dong-joo said in a statement posted on the Japanese website of his company on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Shin Dong-bin, the troubled chairman of Lotte Group met reporters during his business trip to the United States and said he is not worried about the upcoming board meeting. It was his first time appearing before cameras since the massive prosecutors’ investigation launched on a number of his group’s affiliates last Friday. Investigators are looking into whether the group carried out improper business transactions within affiliates and illegally lobbied government officials for favors.
“Lotte Holdings is not doing what they should be doing as a mother company of Korea’s Lotte Group. [Shin Dong-bin] and his supporter Lotte Holdings CEO Takayuki Tsukuda are just waiting for the storm to go by,” Shin Dong-joo said in his statement.
He added that he requested Lotte Holdings, the de facto holding company of the group’s Japanese business, hold an official meeting to discuss the matter but was refused. Shin Dong-joo said Lotte Holdings is not doing what it should to protect its customers, investors and other associated parties.
Shin Dong-joo’s public denouncement of his brother comes five days after his initial statement on Friday, right after an investigation was launched on seven of the group’s domestic affiliates. The raid expanded to a second raid on Tuesday, seizing and searching headquarters of 10 more.
Industry watchers speculated that Shin Dong-joo, who was ousted by his younger brother as leader of Lotte Holdings, was vying for a comeback. In fact, in his statement, he asked the employee shareholders’ association and other shareholders to acknowledge the severity of the situation and approve him as the new leader.
If Shin Dong-joo is able to win over the employee shareholders’ association, which is second in terms of share ratio, he might be able to regain his control over the group.
Even if the board meeting doesn’t end with major changes, Shin Dong-bin’s leadership could be critically jeopardized for improperly managing the group’s financial assets.
Shin Dong-bin on Tuesday said he feels “confident” about the board meeting and pledged to roll out an IPO of Hotel Lotte by the end of this year.
Hotel Lotte had been seeking to raise up to $4.8 billion in what would have been Korea’s largest-ever IPO, but it was withdrawn Monday amid a widening investigation.
Shin Dong-bin said he would return to Korea after attending the board meeting in Japan, which is scheduled for later this month or early next month.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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