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Thorough Investigation of Candidate Roh’s Request for Tax Reduction

Thorough Investigation of Candidate Roh’s Request for Tax Reduction

Posted December. 16, 2003 22:57,   


The Central Investigation Bureau at the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office requested an arrest warrant for Sohn Young-nae, the former commissioner of the National Tax Service, on December 16 on charges of unduly ordering the reduction of Sun & Moon’s taxes in an abuse of his authority.

Former commissioner Sohn is suspected of ordering the taxes cut by 2.3 billion won, even after it was reported by a section chief, Mr. Hong, now arrested, that according to the special tax investigation against Sun & Moon, the amount of penalty taxes is about 17 billion won and it can be reduced by 7.1 billion won in June 2002.

Accordingly, the prosecution is thoroughly investigating whether or not there was pressure from Roh Moo-hyun, then the candidate of the MDP, and political authorities on former commissioner Sohn for Sun & Moon’s tax cut.

Regarding this, the prosecution recently obtained a statement from Moon Byoung-wook, the former chairman of Sun & Moon Group and a younger colleague of President Roh in high school who has been arrested, saying, “I requested that Ahn Hee-jung (arrested) ask then-candidate Roh for Sun & Moon’s tax reduction.”

The prosecution plans to call Mr. Ahn and investigate whether or not he had received such a request from chairman Moon and had requested the tax exemption from then-candidate Roh a day or two later.

The prosecution also obtained a statement saying, “We heard that candidate Roh had requested tax reduction from former commissioner Sohn over the phone,” from National Tax Service employees who had been involved in a special tax investigation against Sun & Moon at the time and is now verifying this.

“The investigation team wonders under what circumstances Sohn, an expert in business taxation, instructed unreasonable tax reduction, and we will verify that it is because of Roh’s telephone request or the request of Rep. Park,” Moon Hyo-nam, an investigator, said.

Meanwhile, the prosecution summoned Choi Don-woong, the former chairman of the GNP Financial Affairs Committee during the presidential campaign, to investigate whether he had reported illegal presidential fundraising to former presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang. “I was not instructed to raise the funds by Lee and did not reported the fundraising to him,” Rep. Choi stated during questioning.

Jin-Kyun Kil leon@donga.com