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Shin Dong-bin’s closest aide grilled in Lotte probe

[THE INVESTOR] Hwang Gak-kyu, a close aide of Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, was summoned for questioning Aug. 25, fueling speculations that other high level officials would be grilled in the near future. 

Lotte Group vice chairman in charge of policies Lee In-won is to be summoned on Aug. 26.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the questioning, Hwang said he was unaware that Lotte Engineering and Construction was forming a 30 billion won (US$26.8 million) slush fund. 



Hwang Gak-kyu, a close aide of Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin attends prosecutor's office on Aug. 25. The Investor/ Chung Hee-cho
Hwang Gak-kyu, a close aide of Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin attends prosecutor's office on Aug. 25. The Investor/ Chung Hee-cho


Shin is said to have handpicked Hwang as a close aide in the 1990s, serving in close proximity to the current Lotte chairman since. In 2014, he was chosen to head the group’s strategy division.

Investigators hope to determine Hwang’s involvement in the alleged tax evasion, dereliction of duty and other irregularities on part of founder Shin Kyuk-ho’s family. 

Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin(left) and his aid Hwang Gak-kyu. The Investor
Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin(left) and his aid Hwang Gak-kyu. The Investor


Lotte Group companies and members of the Shin family have been accused of a range of illegal activities including tax evasion, embezzlement, in-house trading and other irregular trading practices.

Investigators are reportedly grilling Hwang on issues concerning the Shin family’s slush funds to determine if Hwang and other high-level officials were involved in the alleged 600 billion won tax evasion carried out by the Shins.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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