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Tax agency names 2 executives for not reporting overseas accounts

South Korea's tax authorities said Thursday they have made public names of two business executives for not reporting their overseas bank accounts, a practice widely seen as an attempt to avoid taxes.

The National Tax Service (NTS) published on its web site that Cho Hyun-joon, president of Hyosung Corp., and Kim Hee-geun, president of Byucksan Engineering, failed to report their offshore bank accounts to the authorities.

The NTS said Cho, the eldest son of Hyosung Group Chairman Cho Suck-rae, did not report to the agency that he had 6.47 billion won ($5.5 million) in overseas bank accounts in 2012.

A Hyosung spokesman claimed that one of the company officials failed to report to the NTS about junior Cho's overseas bank accounts by mistake.

He said the NTS reduced the fine on Cho by 20 percent after accepting Hyosung's explanation. He said Cho has paid the fine, though it did not elaborate on the exact amount.

Hyosung's major businesses include textile and industrial materials.

The tax agency also said Kim had overseas bank accounts whose net worth were 5.2 billion won and 11.9 billion won in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but he did not report them to the NIS.

A Byucksan Engineering official said Kim has paid a fine, without elaborating.

Under the law, South Koreans are required to report when they have more than 1 billion won in overseas accounts to the tax agency.

In 2013, the NTS began to report names of those who fail to give such information to the tax agency in an effort to raise public awareness against tax evasion. (Yonhap)