Lotte chairman Shin freed as court suspends corruption sentence

Shin Dong-bin (Bloomberg pic)

SEOUL: A Seoul appeals court released Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin from jail after suspending a bribery and embezzlement sentence that had created a leadership vacuum atop the South Korean retail giant almost eight months ago.

The Seoul High Court on Friday said the 30-month sentence was suspended for 4 years.

The suspension of Shin’s sentence follows a court decision earlier this year to release Samsung Electronics Co. Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, heir apparent to the country’s biggest conglomerate, after convicting him on white collar crime charges, including bribery related to former President Park. South Korea’s family-run conglomerates have faced rising pressure from a government that has vowed to weed out corruption at the groups and support minority shareholder rights.

A series of government probes into corruption allegations against Lotte executives led to convictions including the group’s founder Shin Kyuk-ho and his younger son Shin Dong-bin. Elder brother Shin Dong-joo was acquitted.