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Hotel Lotte under tax probe

Hotel Lotte Co., the holding company of retail giant Lotte Group, is undergoing a tax investigation, industry sources said Wednesday.

Company officials confirmed that inspectors from the National Tax Service are proceeding to examine the company’s financial documents at the hotel in downtown Seoul. They claimed the probe is part of a regular audit by the NTS. 

Industry sources, however, said the tax inspection of the affiliate of a chaebol, or family-controlled Korean conglomerates, could be linked to the new government’s “shadow economy taxation initiative.”

“Hotel Lotte is not only a core affiliate of Lotte Group but also a foreign-controlled one. NTS has mentioned that offshore tax evasion and illegal wealth transfer will be one of the targets of the new government’s taxation initiative,” a source said.

Backing up the allegation, the NTS International Transfer Investigation Bureau is dealing with the tax audit of Hotel Lotte, according to the source.

Hotel Lotte, which runs premium hotels, duty-free shops, theme parks and country clubs, is controlled by Lotte Group Japan. The company is an apparent holding company of the group, controlling key affiliates such as Lotte Construction, Lotte Trading, Lotte Capital and Lotte Insurance.

Also on Wednesday, the NTS announced its launch of a comprehensive tax-dogging investigation into fake oil sellers as the first target for the government’s underground economy taxation drive.

By Seo Jee-yeon  (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)
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