Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin attends a news conference in Seoul, South Korea. File photo/Reuters
South Korea’s top court on Thursday upheld a suspended jail term for the chairman of retail giant Lotte Group over a sprawling corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-hye.
Shin Dong-bin was jailed for 30 months in February last year for providing seven billion won ($6.2 million) to a foundation controlled by Park’s secret confidante in return for government favours regarding Lotte’s duty-free business.
The firm is one of the giant family-controlled conglomerates known as “chaebol” that dominate the South Korean economy and powered a decades-long economic boom, but have long had murky ties with authorities.
Shin, 64, was among the company heads — including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong — accused of bribing Park and her close friend Choi Soon-sil for state favours.
But Shin was released in October 2018 after an appeals court reduced his sentence to a suspended jail term, which was upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday.
“We confirmed that there was no misunderstanding of related legal principles” in the appeal court’s decision, a court statement said.
Lotte — the fifth largest conglomerate in South Korea — began as a chewing gum company in Japan in 1948 but now operates businesses in chemicals, food, retail and hotels.
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