Go to contents

Nat`l Tax Office Raided in Bribery Probe

Posted May. 09, 2009 17:42,   


Prosecutors yesterday raided the computer room of the National Tax Service and seized materials in connection with the allegation that former Taekwang Industry Chairman Park Yeon-cha bribed his way out of a tax audit.

The computer room is the hub of tax information where data are stored on an individual’s assets, tax filing, record of tax payments, and the results of audits in an electronic database.

Prosecutors reportedly sent Wednesday investigators to the computer room in Seoul`s Yangpyeong district and seized all documents, including those to the tax audit on Park, and e-mail records of tax officials involved in the audit conducted between July and October last year.

This was the first raid and seizure by prosecutors on the data facility. They reportedly secured materials to Park’s suspected lobbying to avoid the audit.

Based on the seized documents, prosecutors are checking for any discrepancy between materials on the results of the tax audit on Park and those the tax agency submitted to prosecutors in November last year.

They are also looking for any differences between the tax agency’s written materials and electronic materials stored in the computer room. Prosecutors said, however, that they found no circumstantial evidence on whether the agency intentionally omitted or revised the results of its audit or on how it referred the results to prosecutors.

Prosecutors found circumstantial evidence that Sejoong Namo Tour Chairman Chun Shin-il was given money in return for peddling his influence from Park. They are seeing if Chun conducted the lobbying.

A court warrant has been issued for Chun for raid and seizure on charges of bribery and tax evasion. Investigators raided 19 places, including Chun’s home and office.

Prosecutors reportedly found circumstantial evidence that Park lobbied politicians to avoid the audit, a new finding.

Former tax chief Han Sang-ryule, who is in the United States, could be questioned on if he knew of the results on Park`s audit and if he was lobbied by Park.

On former President Roh Moo-hyun, prosecutors said he is expected to submit materials on where his family used the one million U.S. dollars received from Park in late June 2007.

Senior prosecutor Hong Man-pyo said, “Former President Roh claimed his family spent the million dollars to repay personal debts, but when he was shown documents on money transfers, he then said they sent 400,000 dollars for tuition and living expenses to his son Gun-ho, who was studying in the U.S."

verso@donga.com jefflee@donga.com