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Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho dies aged 97 Updated: 2020-01-20 16:26:27 KST

Some called him the CEO of the Korea Strait - the sea passage between South Korea and Japan. He was Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho, who died of a chronic illness on Sunday at the age of 97.
Visitors including former prime minister Lee Nak-yeon and the Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yong paid their respects at a memorial altar at Asan Medical Center in Seoul.
The business tycoon will be buried in his hometown of Ulju-gun in Ulsan City after a funeral ceremony on Wednesday.
Born during Japan's colonial rule of Korea, Shin established Lotte in Tokyo in 1948 as a small chewing gum manufacturer.
Nineteen years later, he returned to his home country to expand his business.
Lotte is now South Korea's fifth largest conglomerate with wide-ranging operations from cinemas, hotels and theme parks to oil and chemical factories.
With Shin's death, all the founders of South Korea's top five conglomerates - Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Lotte and SK - have passed away.
The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Shin laid the groundwork for South Korea's food, retail and tourism industries with his "pioneering investments and aggressive management."
But like many other powerful, family-controlled South Korean conglomerates, Lotte was no exception when it comes to corruption scandals and family disputes.
In 2015, a fight for control of the group broke out between Shin Kyuk-ho's two sons - Shin Dong-joo and Shin Dong-bin - putting the company in a risky position.
After defending a series of attempts by his older brother to take the helm, Shin Dong-bin officially took over from his ailing father.
But the two brothers' constant squabbling led to an investigation by South Korean prosecutors, which in turn two years later resulted in Shin Kyuk-ho himself being sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of embezzlement and breach of trust.
With a three percent stake in Lotte Corporation and other assets, the late Shin's fortune is estimated at well over 1 trillion won, that's around 8-hundred 62-million U.S. dollars.

"Shin reportedly didn't leave a will.
But according to Lotte Group, Shin's assets will be handled in accordance with the law, and most importantly, now that Shin Dong-bin, the current Lotte Chairman, is firmly in charge, the result will NOT affect the governance structure of the conglomerate.
Kim Dami, Arirang News."
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