SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Ailing Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee has been booked for suspected tax evasion by keeping about 400 billion won (US$367.8 million) in hundreds of different accounts created under borrowed names, police said Thursday.
The special investigation unit of the National Police Agency said it referred Lee, South Korea’s richest man, and a Samsung accounting executive to the prosecution on tax evasion charges.
Police accuse the executive, whose identity was withheld, of managing 260 financial accounts using the names of 72 C-suite members at the tech behemoth in 2007 and keeping Lee’s assets in them, mainly to avoid taxes.
They suspect that, by doing so, Lee has dodged 8.2 billion won of capital gains and real estate taxes from 2007-2010.
Police believe those accounts had been managed since as early as the 1990s, but they are only handing over the ones that happened after 2007 since the statute of limitations on the preceding allegations have expired, they added.
Police said they tried to investigate Lee in person, who’s been bedridden for nearly four years following a heart attack in 2014. But his doctor advised against it, confirming that he is not medically capable. Lee has remained in a coma since the collapse.
Given Lee’s conditions, he will be referred to the prosecution recommending a suspension of indictment, police said.
Police discovered the illicit trails in the business mogul’s finances while investigating irregularities in several local interior design companies that had contracts with big conglomerates.
They found suspected embezzlement in that he used 3 billion won of company funds to renovate his Seoul mansion.
Samsung has apparently told police that the money in those accounts was an estate left by his father Lee Byung-chul, who founded the business empire. The executives whose names were used said they handed in copies of their IDs at the request of the management.