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Real estate assets of Lotte founder’s wife reach over W100b

[THE INVESTOR] Seo Mi-kyung, the common-law wife of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, owns real estate worth over 100 billion won (US$88.97 million), according to a local conglomerate tracker on Aug. 30.

Chaebul.com said that Seo owns five pieces of real estate, which were worth a total of 117.7 billion won, based on the appraisal by the Land Ministry this year.

 

Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho.
Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho.


They include land that she inherited from Shin in 2007 that is worth 82.2 billion won. Another piece of land she inherited in the same year was worth 82 billion won, while her apartment in Gangnam is valued at 8.3 billion won.

Through two companies Seo jointly operates with her daughter Yu-mi, she owns three buildings in Seoul that are together worth 68.8 billion won.

The two companies -- Yuki Co. and Yuwon Industry -- are currently suspected of being used for hiding Lotte Group’s alleged slush funds. 

The two firms have made profits off of favorable relations with Lotte subsidiaries such as Lotte Department Store and Lotte Group. Yuki operates seven restaurants in Lotte Department stores.

 
Lotte founder's common-law wife Seo Mi-hyung.
Lotte founder's common-law wife Seo Mi-hyung.


Seo is the 1977 winner of the group's Miss Lotte beauty pageant and has a 33-year-old daughter with Shin. The two have a common-law marriage under South Korean law.

Seo faces a prosecution summons over suspicions that Shin dodged taxes in the process of donating a 6.2-percent stake in Lotte Holdings -- held under borrowed names -- to Seo, her daughter and Shin Young-ja, one of the founder's daughters, in 2006. Lotte Holdings is Lotte’s de facto holding firm based in Tokyo.

The prosecution has been investigating Lotte Group, run by Shin Kyuk-ho's son Dong-bin, since early June over alleged slush funds, embezzlement and other irregularities.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

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