February 21, 2018 / 2:07 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Lotte chairman offers to resign from holding company - YTN

(Adds details on shares, background, Lotte no comment)

SEOUL, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The head of South Korea's Lotte Group has offered to quit as chairman at Japan-based holding firm Lotte Holdings, following his arrest for bribery earlier this month, cable news network YTN said on Wednesday.

The report comes as Lotte Holdings plans to hold a board meeting later Wednesday which is expected to discuss Chairman Shin Dong-bin's situation.

Lotte Holdings is at the heart of Lotte Group's complicated ownership structure and indirectly controls the group's South Korean-based holding company Lotte Corp.

Lotte Holdings is a top shareholder of Lotte Hotel and Lotte Chemical, both of which own major stakes in Lotte Aluminum, which in turn is the largest shareholder of Lotte Corp.

Shin's resignation could reignite a family dispute at the conglomerate, South Korea's fifth-largest business group, and slow its efforts to streamline.

In 2016, Shin's older brother sought to remove him from the board of Lotte Holdings, which was rejected by its shareholders. The older brother remains vice-chairman of Lotte Holdings.

The latest development comes after Shin was sentenced last week to two years and six months in prison over an influence-peddling scandal that has rocked the country's business and political elite.

His detention is expected to hamper Lotte's investment plans and seek new business avenues to stem losses in China.

Shares in its flagship retailer, Lotte Shopping, fell 0.7 percent on Wednesday versus the wider market's 0.4 percent rise, amid concerns of a leadership vacuum.

Lotte Group declined to comment about the report. (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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