Seoul court designates guardians for Lotte founder

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Seoul court designates guardians for Lotte founder

A Seoul court on Wednesday named a pro bono attorney group and a former chief of the Seoul High Court as guardians of Shin Kyuk-ho, the 95-year-old Lotte Group founder and general chairman.

The decision by the Seoul Family Court comes about eight months after his younger sister Shin Jung-sook filed a petition to allow four family to become his guardians. His sister argued that Shin was not in the right mental condition to make decisions, though he insisted he had “no problem with my health.” He checked into a hospital in May to have his mental health examined but checked out in just three days, refusing an exam.

The court chose One Law Partners and Lee Tae-un, who served on the high court until 2009, as the patriarch’s guardians. They will be responsible for dealing with the honorary chairman’s properties and lawsuits on his behalf, given the ruling indicates Shin’s ability to properly make judgments and process work is limited.

“We respect the court’s decision that General Chairman Shin needs legal protection,” a Lotte Group statement said. “The decision has made it possible for him to defend his health and honor. We expect unnecessary controversies and concerns in regards to the group’s management to be resolved.”

Shin Dong-joo, the patriarch’s oldest son, said he would appeal. The former vice chairman of Lotte Holdings in Japan has said his father has designated him heir to the nation’s biggest retail group and is mentally stable.

Dong-joo has been engaged in a high-profile succession battle with his younger brother and current Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin since January 2015. The younger son wrested control of Lotte Group from his brother and says his father has judgment issues due to his age.

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