The head of a South Korean supplier to global brands, including Zara and GAP, set up shell companies in tax havens, an independent South Korean online news outlet said Thursday, in its latest revelation of a list that also includes three other Korean businessmen.
Kim Ki-hong, chairman of Nobland, was registered as one of two directors and a shareholder of Jade Crown Group Ltd. set up in the British Virgin Islands on Sept. 8, 2006, the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ) said on its website.
The other director involved has been identified as Acticorp Ltd., it said.
The news outlet said Kim established three other shell companies -- Win Harvest Consultants Ltd. and ArcLAB Planning Inc. in the British Virgin Islands and Winnet Holdings Ltd. in the British Channel Island of Jersey -- between 2003 and 2008.
Kim and his wife have the right to withdraw money from an account in the Hong Kong branch of Swiss bank UBS, which was opened by Win Harvest Consultants Ltd. and ArcLAB Planning Inc., KCIJ said, citing documents of Singapore-based Portcullis TrustNet, which helps people establish shell companies in tax havens, it said.
Kim said he set up the companies for his business, though he said he did not use them, according to the news outlet.
Nobland said on its website that its customers also include DKNY Jeans, Helmut Lang, Vince, Rag & Bone, Banana Republic as well as Guess.
Nobland officials were not immediately available for comment.
The news outlet also said three other South Korean businessmen set up paper companies in the British Virgin Islands between 2005 and 2008.
It identified the three as Gim Seong-gon, chairman of CS Wind Corporation, a wind tower maker; Park Hyo-sang, chairman of Dongkook Ind., an auto parts maker; and Oh Jung-hyun, president of SSCP Co., a maker of electronic and coating materials.
The findings are based on a joint investigative journalism project by the South Korean news outlet and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The South Korean journalists have been taking part in the project since April.
The Korean news outlet earlier said its list includes a total of 245 South Koreans, of whom it has so far revealed 22 high-profile names including a former South Korean president's son.