Lotte Group and Samsung Group have declined to comment on reports that South Korean prosecutors have raided the Seoul offices to investigate the companies’ alleged connections to the nation’s ongoing presidential corruption scandal. SK Group, which is also reportedly under investigation, could not be reached for comment.
SK and Lotte are being investigated for possible bribes in order to sway the government’s decision in renewing their duty free licenses, according to Korean press reports.
South Korea president Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil are accused of extortion and abuse of official power by funneling bribes and funds through foundations set up by Choi.
A spokeswoman for Lotte Group said that the company would comment on the raid as an investigation is ongoing. While Samsung Group declined to release any statements on the issue.
Lotte and SK duty free shops in Seoul were lucrative “golden eggs” for the conglomerates, according to the reports.
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Since late October, South Korea has been under what South Koreans are calling a “collective gloom” since Park’s alleged corruption and abuses of power were revealed to a shocked, disbelieving public almost a month ago.