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Samsung and Lotte heirs named group heads by antitrust body

Lee Jae-yong and Shin Dong-bin had taken over for their fathers

Lee Jae-yong, left, and Lee Kun-hee in August 2009. With his father hospitalized since 2014, the younger Lee effectively runs South Korea's largest conglomerate.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- South Korean antitrust authorities on Tuesday designated the heirs of Samsung and Lotte as the leaders of the corporate empires, recognizing that they have taken the helm from their aging fathers.

The Fair Trade Commission named Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin the heads of the two chaebol, or family-run conglomerates, in its 2018 report on the groups' asset values.

Up through the previous year, Lee Kun-hee was the listed leader of Samsung and Shin Kyuk-ho of Lotte. But the elder Lee has passed the torch since being confined to a Seoul hospital bed since 2014, and the younger Shin is seen as having effectively taken control of Lotte around 2015. The change of designation was meant to bring the watchdog's assessment of the companies up to date.

Shin Dong-bin was recently sentenced to 30 months in prison on bribery charges related to former President Park Geun-hye, who was herself impeached and convicted for corruption. Lee Jae-yong received a suspended sentence for his own bribery charges.

The FTC's ranking of the chaebol by value remained unchanged with Samsung in the lead, followed by Hyundai Motor, SK Holdings, LG and Lotte.

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