Two Hanjin Affiliates Raided Due to Tax Evasion Scandal

David Song, May 25, 2018, 8:45 a.m.

Prosecutors on Friday raided two affiliates of Hanjin Group, a South Korean conglomerate embroiled in a scandal involving its controlling family, over allegations that they played a role in amassing illegal secret funds for the owner family and helped them evade taxes. Investigators from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors' Office searched two trading companies with ties to Hanjin to confiscate evidence.

They also raided a local supplier of Korean Air Lines Co., Hanjin's key unit, and the residences of executives of the three firms, prosecutors said. Prosecutors suspect the companies were used as channels for Chairman Cho Yang-ho and his family members to gain ill-gotten profits that may have been sources for their slush funds and to dodge inheritance taxes.

The two trading companies, whose businesses mainly involve trading of duty-free items, are jointly owned by Cho's wife and his three children, the prosecution has found. It is the latest in a series of prosecution raids against the Cho family. On Thursday, prosecutors carried out search warrants on some 10 locations related to Hanjin, including residences of Cho Yang-ho's two brothers -- the chiefs of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. and Meritz Financial Group Inc.

The Seoul office of the National Tax Service has filed a complaint asking the prosecution to investigate the Cho family over possible tax evasion and amassing of slush funds worth billions of won. The raid also comes amid ongoing prosecution investigations into a series of alleged abuses and mistreatment of employees by Cho's wife and her younger daughter, Hyun-min.

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