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Press Owners Will Be Accused Soon

Posted June. 25, 2001 20:00,   


At the meetings of the Finance and Economy Committee and the Culture and Tourism Committee yesterday, the lawmakers of the Grand National Party asserted that the tax probe on the press had been initiated by the political motivation to take the power again. The congresspersons of the ruling New Millennium Democratic Party refuted that the aggressive response of GNP is in fact to distort the taxation system.

Rep. Ahn Taek-Soo of GNP insisted at the meeting, ``it is believed that a company will be charged an additional 130 billion won, another one will be charged an additional 80 billion won, and the other one will be charged an additional 60 billion won. The tax probe was performed to control the press, based on the conclusion that, when the government is negligent of the press until the next presidential election, the current administration would not gain the power again.``

Rep. Ahn also argued that the funeral bells are tolling for the death of the freedom of the press by the tax investigation and the controlled press will simply follow the government orders from now on.``

However, Rep. Kang Un-Tae of NMDP stated, ``it is tantalizing that the politicians have engaged in the political controversies on the tax probe into the press. The continuing debates will eventually end up with the nullification of the taxation system and the enfeeblement of the liability to taxation.``

Rep. Shim Kyu-Chul of GNP insisted that the National Tax Service and the Korea Fair Trade Commission charged 23 press companies the total amount as three times as the net profit of last year, 194.5 billion won. ``It would be a new merger and abolition of the press because the most press will have to close after they pay the tax, which is three times larger than their net profits,`` he argued.

However, Rep. Jong Bom-Goo of NMDP remarked, ``To preserve the freedom of the press does not mean the freedom dodge tax.``

Responding the question ``how many press companies did not receive the notice for the additional taxation?,`` Ahn Jung-Nam, the Commissioner of NTS said, ``NTS has yet to inform 7 press companies.`` To the question, ``is there any possibility that the rest 7 companies are engaged in the tax evasion?`` he responded, ``Probably.``

NTS will file accusations against those corporations and the owners of the press companies who are engaged in the tax evasion, at earliest 28th, on charge of the violation of the taxation laws.

In addition, Commissioner Ahn said that NTS would consider accepting the payment by stocks as long as the law allows.

Yoon Young-Chan yyc11@donga.com