S. KOREA: Lotte Group Offices Raided By Prosecutors

The offices of the Lotte Group were raided this morning by prosecutors in South Korea, reportedly related to a bribery investigation.  Around 200 investigators searched 17 locations, including the offices of subsidiaries and the homes of its Chairman and other senior executives.

Prosecutors said they confiscated computer hard drives, accounting books and other documents.  They have also issued travel bans for some senior officials.

Reports said some of the executives allegedly created secret funds by exaggerating unit prices in contracts with their subcontractors.  The reports also noted that the probe is looking into whether Lotte created slush funds while making transactions between its affiliates.

Lotte is the fifth-largest conglomerate in South Korea, but has faced turbulent times recently, including a bitter public succession battle.  The group did not offer any comment.