A professor of international business law at Boston University has been tapped to represent South Korea in a tax dispute case involving a Netherlands-based company, the government said Thursday.
Hanocal Holding B.V., a Dutch paper company belonging to the International Petroleum Investment Company of the United Arab Emirates, has sued Seoul over double taxation during the sale of Hyundai Oilbank Co. shares five years ago. The case will be handled at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
The National Tax Service said William Park is well-qualified and has extensive experience in handling investor state disputes at the ICSID.
Besides selecting the 68-year-old scholar, the government has picked local law firm Kim & Chang, as well as New York-based Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to represent its position.
Park has acted as an arbitrator on 17 ISD cases at the ICSID, the tax service said, adding Park also heads the London Court of International Arbitration, is the editor-in-chief of the Arbitration International academic journal and has authored the highly respected book titled the Income Tax Treaty Arbitration.
"The government is committed to actively countering arguments made by Hanocal," it stressed.
Hanocal maintains that slapping taxes on the sale of shares violates the ban on the double taxation convention agreement between South Korea and the Netherlands. The government views Hanocal as a mere "front company" with no real authority, it said.
"Because IPIC is the real beneficiary of the sale, it is the government's belief that all actions regarding taxes must follow bilateral rules in place between South Korea and the UAE," said a source, who declined to be identified. He said under Seoul-Abu Dhabi rules charging taxes is justified.
Hanocal, meanwhile, picked Gary Born as its arbitrator and U.S. law firm Wilmer Hale for the case. (Yonhap)