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[Newsmaker] KCIJ makes waves with tax haven revelations

The Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, or Newstapa, is making waves with its revelations of high-profile Koreans who use tax havens to store their wealth.

Founded in 2012 by a group of journalists, the KCIJ is an independent online media outlet that states its purpose as “delivering the truth to the public, and not using press releases distributed by those with power and money.” 
Kim Yong-jin (left), head of the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, and producer Choi Seung-ho (Yonhap News)
Kim Yong-jin (left), head of the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, and producer Choi Seung-ho (Yonhap News)

Saying that they have judged that the revealed related information “serves the public’s right to know and the common good,” the KCIJ has been releasing names of Koreans with tax haven-based assets since May 22.

Using data compiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the KCIJ has so far disclosed the names of Koreans that have businesses or accounts in tax havens.

So far, the KCIJ has revealed that a number of former executives and families of notable conglomerates including Hanjin Group and Hanwha Group have assets in tax havens.

Veteran actress Yoon Suk-hwa and her husband Kim Seok-ki, a former financial executive, are also on the list.

The announcements come as the new Park Geun-hye administration steps up measures against tax evasion.

In addition, the KCIJ tax haven project has also coincided with the prosecutors’ investigation into a large tax evasion and slush fund scheme operated by the country’s 14th-largest conglomerate CJ Group.

The investigations, which have involved raids of the group’s headquarters and the home of its chairman Lee Jay-hyun have led the authorities to request cooperation from those of tax havens.

By Choi He-suk (Cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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