Samsung Group’s bedridden chairman Lee Kun-hee was found to hold 6.2 billion won ($5.7 million) in 27 borrowed-name accounts for illicit tax evasion, which would be subject to a fine of 3.1 billion won, 50 percent of the asset value.
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on Monday announced the results of its special probe on the ailing chairman’s borrowed-name accounts on Monday, saying that it tentatively confirmed Lee had 6.2 billion won stashed away in 27 accounts as of August 12, 1993, a day a law, dubbed the Real Name Financial Transactions Act requiring all financial transactions to be made in real names enacted. The financial watchdog looked into four local brokerage firms holding the accounts traceable to Lee over the last two weeks.
Lee, who has been hospitalized since 2014 following a debilitating heart attack, held 2.6 billion won in 13 accounts under borrowed names at Shinhan Investment, 2.2 billion won in seven accounts at Korea Investment & Securities, 700 million won in three accounts at Mirae Asset Daewoo and 640 million won in four accounts at Samsung Securities, according to the FSS. Those assets, mostly Lee’s shares in Samsung Electronics, can be slapped with a penalty of 50 percent of asset value, which would be 3.1 million won, estimated on the first day when the act took effect.
The probe came after the Ministry of Government Legislation concluded that 27 out of over 1,500 borrowed-name accounts of Lee, opened before the 1993 legislation, are subject to fines.
Separately, the FSS also announced that it will seek ways to impose fines on people who opened borrowed-name accounts after the 1993 act went into force to avoid taxes, adding that it would ask the National Assembly to pass the measure as quickly as possible.
By Lee Seung-yoon and Choi Mira
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