[THE INVESTOR] The Financial Supervisory Service said on March 5 that it would soon impose fines on Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee for evading taxes with borrowed-name accounts.
Announcing the interim results of a two-week probe, the financial watchdog said it found 6.18 billion won (US$6.75 million) under borrowed names in 27 accounts owned by Lee as of Aug. 12, 1993, which was when Korea implemented a system enforcing real-name accounts. Half of Lee’s assets may now have to be paid as fines, according to related laws.
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee (right) with his daughter Boo-jin.
Lee’s funds were mostly held in the form of equities at four Korean brokerages -- Shinhan Investment, Korea Investment & Securities, MiraeAsset Daewoo Securities, and Samsung Securities.
The estimate value of the stocks reached 236.9 billion won as of Feb. 26, according to the watchdog.
The FSS said it has also tracked down all the transactions of the accounts at three brokerages, except for those at Samsung Securities, a financial business arm of Samsung Group. This was because some of the records were lost.
“The FSS will review Lee’s borrowed-name accounts at Samsung Securities for week more,” the financial regulator said.
In a 2008 prosecutorial investigation found Lee had accounts worth 4.5 trillion won under the names Samsung officials, and convicted him on charges of tax evasion and breach of trust.
In 2014, Lee suffered a heart attack and has been hospitalized since.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)