S.R. Cho, chairman of Hyosung Group, is coming under increasing pressure over allegations of tax evasion as tax authorities step up their investigation into his financial history.
With conglomerate heads known for purchasing airline tickets to get out of tight spots in the past, Cho was banned from traveling abroad, forcing him to cancel plans to go to Vietnam with President Park Geun-hye for her state-visit there.
The National Tax Service and the prosecutors’ ramped-up investigations into both public and private figures such as Cho and former President Chun Doo-hwan show that this time, they mean business.
As Park’s government has indicated that no one is above the “tax law” and that everyone must pay their fair share, the ongoing probe into Cho will without doubt make other chaebol nervous and scramble for their accountants to set their tax records straight.
The government’s enforcers will have no trouble gaining public support this time as many people agree that this toughened stance against chaebol and other figures who have abused their power is long overdue.
Investigations into chaebol, corporate executives and politicians found to have offshore accounts in tax havens or who dubiously evaded tax payments through loopholes are expected to gain momentum.
There are more than 70 other unidentified individuals currently targeted by the NTS, and many more high-income earners to be listed for scrutiny.
The best chance to avoid heavy penalties or prosecution is for them to come clean before authorities raid their homes for tax evasion. As the NTS literally promised, the truth will set them free.
The bottom line is that the government needs a lot of money ― 135 trillion won ― to finance its welfare pledges. And someone needs to pay for that even through harsh investigations and prosecutions.
By Park Hyong-ki (email@example.com