Korea’s Lotte Group Boss Charged With Bribery

South Korean prosecutors have arrested and charged Shin Dong-bin, chairman of Lotte. The conglomerate is one of the ten biggest companies in the country, and is its second largest entertainment player.

The charges of bribery relate to $6.16 million of alleged payments made to Choi Soon-sil, the mysterious friend of deposed Korean president Park Geun-hye. Choi is alleged to have used her close connections to Park for financial gain. Prosecutors say that large companies used Choi to get official approval for favors, including the approval of certain deals. Park was also charged with receiving bribery payments. All have denied the charges.

The arrest of Shin is expected to create a temporary vacuum within the group’s senior management. But as he has not been kept in detention that vacuum may not be extreme.

Lotte operates restaurant chains, hotels and department stores. Its cinema chain is the second largest in Korea, and it has further cinemas in China, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Within Korea, its film distribution arm is the local sub-distributor for Paramount.

Lotte is also currently facing enormous pressure over its operations in China, following the company’s agreement to provide land on which the Korean government plans to site the THAAD missile defense system. China objects to THAAD and since the deployment decision, last July, has sought to cut ties with the Korean entertainment industry. Lotte’s decision has stirred up sections of the Chinese public, who have boycotted its supermarkets in China and have cut their spending at Lotte’s duty free operations. Lotte has also had to halt construction of a theme park that it was building in China.

The arrest of Shin follows that of Lee Jae-yong, the acting head of electronics giant Samsung who was arrested on Park- and Choi-related bribery charges last month. Lee denies the charges.

Park and the country’s former culture minister are also alleged to have created a blacklist of Korean culture industry figures who were to be denied public funding as punishment for not supporting Park’s government.

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content