Government names and shames 32 tax evaders

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Government names and shames 32 tax evaders

Lee Jay-hyun, chairman of CJ Group, was among 32 people identified as tax dodgers on a list disclosed by the National Tax Service on Thursday.

The tax collection agency said the tax evaders were those convicted in court between July 2016 and June 2017. The National Tax Service has been disclosing the names of convicted tax dodgers every year since 2014. Last year, there were 33 people on the list.

In 2015, Lee was convicted of failing to pay 25.2 billion won ($23.2 million) in taxes, including on dividends that were stashed in an offshore company. A court sentenced him to two and a half years in prison and fined him the amount he owed in taxes.

Lee tried to appeal the decision last year, which is why he was included on the list this year, but former President Park Geun-hye pardoned him last August ahead of Liberation Day.

At the same time, Shin Dong-ki, vice president at CJ, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and four years of probation for failing to pay 22.3 billion won in taxes. He, too, tried to appeal the decision last year.

On average, the amount of taxes that the 32 tax dodgers owed was 3.8 billion won. Their average punishment was two years and five months in prison. The average fine was 3.9 billion won.

The most common method of tax evasion was falsely reporting income. Nine of the tax cheaters were convicted of falsely reporting their income.

There were also cases where people used false bank accounts opened under someone else’s name or using offshore companies like CJ’s Lee did. One person failed to report the existence of offshore accounts.

The National Tax Service also disclosed 65 organizations that falsely reported the donations they received - 97 percent of them were religious organizations.

By comparison, there were 58 organizations that falsified donation reports last year.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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