April 6, 2017 / 6:36 AM / a year ago

South Korea prosecution to question Lotte Group chief in graft probe

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean prosecutors said on Thursday they have summoned Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin for questioning as a witness in an investigation of an influence-peddling scandal that led to the dismissal and arrest of former president Park Geun-hye.

FILE PHOTO - Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin speaks during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

The prosecutor’s office said Shin had been summoned to appear at 9:30 a.m. local time on Friday but did not comment further.

A Lotte Group spokesman said the company, South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate, or chaebol, would cooperate with the investigation fully and in good faith.

Park was arrested on Friday after a court granted the prosecution’s request for her detention on charges including bribery. Her arrest came weeks after she became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be thrown out of office.

She is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure businesses such as Lotte to contribute to foundations that backed her policy initiatives. Prosecutors were questioning her again on Thursday, the second time this week.

Park and Choi both deny any wrong-doing.

Lotte has denied allegations that it made improper deals with Park, or those linked to her, for favors.

Reporting by Se Young Lee; additional reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Paul Tait

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