Ex-President Chun’s son faces prosecution probe for dubious investment in offshore tax haven
Published : 2013-10-07 21:32
Updated : 2013-10-07 21:32
The financial regulator said Monday that it uncovered 2,339 cases of illegal foreign currency trading through its crackdown between June and September, vowing stern disciplinary measures against tax evaders.
“We’ve completed the probe into 1,160 cases out of 2,339 cases and are still conducting a full-fledged probe into the remaining 1,179 cases,” said the Financial Supervisory Service in a statement.
It has already referred 49 individuals suspected of dodging taxes via their investments in overseas tax havens and irregularly relocating their assets abroad to the prosecution and the National Tax Service.
According to market insiders, the 49 figures include President Chun Doo-hwan’s eldest son Chun Jae-kook, Hanjin Shipping chairwoman Choi Eun-young, chemical firm OCI chairman Lee Soo-young and actress Yoon Suk-hwa.
The regulatory crackdown was prompted by revelations by the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism.
FSS officials also said most of the suspects involved in the 1,160 completed cases are subject to sanctions such as administrative fines, trading suspension and close monitoring.
“More suspects will likely be handed over to the prosecution according to our further inspection of dubious accounts,” said an official.
In early June, FSS governor Choi Soo-hyun said Korean financial authorities will seek closer coordination with counterparts in the United States and Singapore to track down assets hidden by Koreans in offshore tax havens.
Over the past few months, the FSS has shared information about Koreans suspected of having dodged taxes through tax havens with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a financial intelligence agency under the wing of the U.S. Treasury Department.
The FSS also asked Singapore to cooperate with its investigation into Koreans having secret accounts in the Southeast Asian country, including Chun Jae-kook.
The former President’s son allegedly set up and operated a bogus company named Blue Adonis in the British Virgin Islands through Arab Bank’s Singapore branch. The firm’s accounting books, list of shareholders and other corporate documents are known to be kept at the branch.
Korean companies and individuals were found to have continued to increase their money remittance to overseas tax havens over the past few years.
According to the Bank of Korea and data from the financial investment industry, their money transfers to tax havens including countries in the Caribbean have nearly doubled since the 2008 financial crisis.
The annual figure, which stood at $212.2 billion (254.3 trillion won) in 2009, climbed to $324.2 billion in 2010, $385.7 billion in 2011 and $413.9 in 2012.