South Korea's tax agency said Tuesday that it has ordered 11 individuals to pay about 71 billion won (US$64.6 million) for evading due taxes through offshore paper companies.
The move comes roughly three months after an independent Internet press organization disclosed a list of Korean nationals suspected of running paper companies in tax haven regions, including the British Virgin Islands.
The National Tax Service (NTS) reviewed the list and confirmed the identities of 267 Korean nationals, of which 39 were chosen for further investigation on charges of tax evasion.
Of those, the NTS said that it has completed investigation into 11 individuals and ordered them to pay a combined 71.4 billion won in unpaid taxes. Investigation is also underway into the rest of the people, it added.
During the first half of this year, the NTS also said that it has slapped a combined 601.6 billion won on 127 people suspected of evading taxes through offshore paper companies.
The amount is up 22.8 percent from 489.7 billion won during the same period a year earlier, the agency said.
In a related move, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) earlier signed a business agreement with the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on increasing cooperation in cracking down on illegal foreign currency transactions and other actions aimed at evading taxes.
Under the agreement, the agencies will conduct joint investigations and share related information in a way that could create a synergy effect on their operations, according to the agency.
"Recent offshore tax evasion cases and ongoing investigations are highlighting the increased business relation between the KCS and FSS, which led us to agree that we need information sharing and joint investigations down the road," it said.