Korea's National Tax Service and its American counterpart are to conduct a joint investigation of Korean companies on suspicion of tax evasion and creating slush funds through subsidiaries in the U.S.

The NTS on Tuesday said it signed an agreement known as a Simultaneous Criminal Investigation Program with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to crack down on illegal transfers of assets abroad and offshore tax evasion. It targets individuals and companies doing business in both Korea and the U.S. that are suspected of tax evasion or of aiding and abetting it.

Violations committed outside the U.S. through dollar transactions with American banks will be investigated as well. "The IRS' Criminal Investigation Division has broad investigative powers and access to a wide range of financial information, so it will be of great help in detecting Korean tax evaders in the U.S.," said Park Yun-jun of the NTS.

NTS Commissioner Lee Hyun-dong has been at the forefront of the crackdown on offshore tax evasion, establishing a special bureau when he was still deputy commissioner early this year.

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