Samsung chairman a suspect in $7.5m tax evasion case

The chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Kun-hee, was named by police in Seoul on Thursday as a suspect in a $7.5m tax evasion case.

The case allegedly involved the use of Samsung employee’s bank accounts. The news of Lee’s naming comes in the wake of series of controversies that have plagued the family-run Samsung over the past year. Samsung is South Korea’s largest business empire.

Lee, who suffered a heart attack in 2014 and remains in hospital, cannot be questioned by police due to his ill-health. The Korean National Police Agency instead issued a statement, in which they said, “Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee and a Samsung executive managed funds in 260 bank accounts under names of 72 executives, suspected of evading taxes worth 8.2bn won.”

Lee was previously arrested in 2009, and subsequently pardoned, for tax evasion. The current investigation involves back payments totaling $120m (130bn won) in tax in 2011, though the police are concerned only by $7.5m (8.2bn won) which falls within the statute of limitations.

Samsung Electronics’ shares were up 1.1% on Thursday morning.

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Editor of International Investment.

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