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Tax Service Says It Fined Nominee

Posted February. 08, 2006 04:30,   


The National Tax Service (NTS) revealed that it fined Health and Welfare minister nominee Rhyu Si-min for not paying his taxes from 2001 through 2004.

During the confirmation hearing of the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee yesterday, main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers asked Rhyu about this and other matters of concern, including his alleged failure to contribute to the national pension fund, the alleged false registration of his academic background, and his alleged involvement in a university mob incident, while the ruling Uri Party mainly asked him about his national pension reform plans.

Rhyu Didn’t Pay His Taxes-

GNP lawmaker Bahk Jae-wan insisted, “The NTS imposed additional taxes on Rhyu on a yearly basis because of his failure to pay taxes from 2001 to 2004 when he was transferred to the registered businessman bracket thanks to his increased income.”

According to Bahk, Rhyu was fined 270,000 won in 2001, 400,000 won in 2002, 150,000 won in 2003 and 170,000 won in 2004. It was also revealed that after Rhyu was elected as a lawmaker, he has failed to abide by tax reporting regulations since 2003.

In response to the allegations, Rhyu admitted that the NTS levied additional taxes on him, saying, “I had difficulty reporting my taxes at the time. Because I earned money through unstable jobs, including lectures and writing for newspapers, I did not know how to report my taxes.”

Regarding the fact that Rhyu did not pay national pension fees from July 1999 to July 2000, GNP Rep. Jeon Jae-hee said, “Rhyu applied for admission to the national health insurance system, but avoided joining the national pension system that has unclear timing benefits.”

Rhyu answered, “It is true that I did not pay national pension fees, but I hope that the public should understand that I did not pay them because the National Pension Service did not notify me that I had to.”

Controversy Over SNU Mob Incident-

The ruling and opposition parties were at divided over whether a video showing victims of a civilian mob incident by SNU students in 1984 involving Rhyu should be shown.

GNP lawmakers insisted that the video be shown in the confirmation hearing room, saying that their efforts to call people related to the incident to the hearings had been blocked by the ruling party.

But the ruling party denied the GNP’s claims, saying that the victims’ statements could be heard in the form of written papers. In response, GNP lawmakers temporarily walked out of the room and showed the video in the National Assembly press conference room.

Meanwhile, many Uri Party lawmakers who strongly opposed Rhyu’s nomination last month when he was named as the new health and welfare minister showed a willingness to defend Rhyu this time.

Uri Party lawmaker Baek Won-woo, who transferred from the Education Committee to the Health and Welfare Committee on February 2, said, “I came to here from the Education Committee to defend Rhyu.”

Rhyu Had a Modest Attitude-

During the hearing, Rhyu tried to show a modest attitude. He maintained a prudent facial expression while wearing a beige suit and dark round-rimmed glasses. In his confirmation hearing oath, Rhyu said, “I will speak in a prudent manner.”

When GNP lawmaker Moon Hee asked him, “Do you still regard the GNP as a subject to be exterminated?” reminding Rhyu of his remark in which he said exterminating the GNP was his duty, Rhyu apologized for his remark, saying, “I admit that my remark went too far at the time.”

Chin-Ku Lee sys1201@donga.com