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South Korea's Lotte Group Vice Chairman Found Dead Ahead of Questioning

  • VOA News

People come out from Lotte Group office in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016.

People come out from Lotte Group office in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016.

A senior executive of one of South Korea's largest businesses has been found dead, just hours before he was scheduled to be questioned by prosecutors about allegations of corruption in the Lotte Group, a family-run conglomerate.

Lee In-won, who was 69, was Lotte's vice chairman, the company's highest-ranking executive outside the founding family. His body was discovered near Seoul Friday morning.

South Korean media are reporting the death as a suicide.

Lee had been with the company since 1973.

He was a top aide to Shin Dong-bin who last year beat back a challenge from his older brother, emerging triumphantly as the chairman of the Lotte Group, founded by their 93-year-old father.

Prosecutors raided the Lotte Group's offices in June as part of their investigation about the allegations of fraud. The ongoing investigation forced the company to withdraw its initial public offering in June for its hotel unit that could have raised more than $5 billion.

Besides hotels, the Lotte Group also has chemical and retail businesses.

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