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Restaurant Formerly Co-owned by President Roh Becomes Target of GNP Tax Evasion Allegations

Restaurant Formerly Co-owned by President Roh Becomes Target of GNP Tax Evasion Allegations

Posted July. 08, 2005 05:19,   


What is the truth behind tax evasion controversy of Haro-dongseon, which is a restaurant in which President Roh Moo-hyun had some share in?

By forming the national integration promotion council with Representatives Yoo Ihn-tae, Kim Won-wung, and Park Gye-dong , President Roh ran for the 1996 general elections. After failing to be elected, they opened a barbeque restaurant named Haro-dongseon in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu in Seoul. Haro-dongseon means sleeper like a stove in summer and a fan in winter.

GNP Representative Park Gye-dong’s remark on July 6 opened the controversy for tax evasion. After the general meeting of GNP representatives on that day, spokeswoman Chun Yu-ok said, “Representative Park said at the general meeting that ‘when I was managing Haro-dongseon with President Roh Moo-hyun and Representative Yoo Ihn-tae, [we] reported our sales to the tax office by reducing them to one-fourth.’”

Yet after Uri Representatives Yoo Ihn-tae, Won Hye-young, and Kim Won-wung, who are Rep. Park’s ‘old comrades’ and co-founders of the Haro-dongseon, retorted back yesterday, the situation changed.

Beginning with the remark that he feels a bit ashamed of a person who remembers in any manner he pleases, Representative Yoo said, “It was only that we said at the tax office that ‘neighboring restaurants would be embarrassed if we report [our sales] as it is.’” Kim also said, “We reported honestly.”

After controversy arose, Rep. Park issued an “explanatory note” and said, “The tax office suggested us to report reduced sales so as to achieve balance with other restaurants.” However, he did not elucidate on how they reported eventually.

In a telephone call he had with the writer before he departed to Russia, Park said, “I don’t know whether we reported less than our sales. I have never said anything like that. What is in the explanatory note is all I said.”

Young-Chan Yoon Seung-Heon Lee yyc11@donga.com ddr@donga.com