| SEOUL, Sept 20
SEOUL, Sept 20 South Korean prosecutors on
Tuesday questioned Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, the most
senior executive to face interrogation as part of a sweeping
criminal probe into the country's fifth-largest conglomerate.
Investigators will ask Shin about suspected embezzlement and
breach of trust as well as other suspected corporate crimes at
Lotte Group, a prosecution source with direct knowledge of the
matter told Reuters on Monday.
As a boss at the time of the alleged crimes, Shin, 61, is
expected to be a key witness in the investigation which has
already seen dozens of Lotte Group officials called in for
questioning and company offices raided.
"I am sorry for causing concerns. I will sincerely cooperate
with the prosecutors' investigation," Shin told reporters before
attending a closed questioning session at the Seoul Central
District Prosecutors' Office.
The probe, which began in June, has already scuppered Hotel
Lotte's planned $4.5 billion IPO, hampered potential M&A deals
and served as the backdrop of the apparent suicide of one of the
group's top executives last month.
Prosecutors also questioned Shin's father and Lotte Group
founder, Shin Kyuk-ho, as well as elder brother Shin Dong-joo
earlier this month.
As chairman Shin is currently in control of the group which
has 103.3 trillion won ($92.22 billion) in assets as of April.
Shin has been in a dispute with his elder brother over control
of the group since last year.
The prosecution source, who declined to be identified as the
probe is ongoing, said the investigation would likely reach a
conclusion by early October.
($1 = 1,120.2000 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates)