The prosecution, which has been investigating allegations that there was corruption in the process of Lotte Group's selection as a department store operator in Dongtan 2 New City, closed the case without finding any suspects.

At the beginning of this month, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office of Prosecutor's Office of Crime Proceeds Refund (Prosecutor Jin-seung Yoo) dismissed the indictment of seven former and current LH executives and employees, including his aunt, former president of Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH), due to insufficient evidence.

Lotte officials and design company employees alleging that they gave back money to these LH executives and employees were also dismissed from prosecution.

Prosecutors said, "We conducted investigations from various angles, such as seizure and search of related companies such as the LH headquarters, account tracking, and investigation of persons involved in the case, but it was not confirmed the circumstances of the bribery or the fact that preferential treatment was provided during the selection process."

Lotte Group was selected as a department store operator in Dongtan 2 New Town ordered by LH in 2015.

In the bidding process, the Hyundai Department Store Consortium spent 414.4 billion won and the Lotte Shopping Consortium 355.7 billion won, but as a result of the screening, Lotte, which spent 58.7 billion won less than Hyundai, was selected.

In the case of the National Assembly's Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee, at the time, suspicions were raised that former Incheon Regional Headquarters Director Kim Mo, who participated as a judge on the LH side, gave a more generous score to Lotte than other judges.

The suspicion of collusion between the design company established by LH graduates and Lotte was also raised.

At the beginning of this year, several years after that, the prosecution conducted an investigation into whether or not the nationwide movement to eradicate corruption in real estate was self-contained in the wake of the suspicion of land speculation by LH employees.

However, as a result of the investigation, the prosecution concluded that there was no suspicious transaction between LH and Lotte.

Although the bid offered by the Lotte Consortium was lower than the bid offered by Hyundai, the prosecution determined that Lotte received the highest score as a result of adding up evaluation scores in other areas, such as development plans and management and operation plans.

There were also suspicions that the judges' information had been leaked in advance, but the prosecution explained that they could not find any objective evidence to prove this.

The prosecution judged that LH's former general manager Kim gave a high score to Lotte, but it did not have a decisive effect on the overall examination result.

The allegations of bribery were also traced to the accounts of those involved, but it was found that there was no objective data to support them.  

(Photo = Yonhap News)