Rep. Shim Jae-chul of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said on June 26 that he confirmed that all 14 tax officials of the investigation bureau, as well as three others entangled in the previous controversy, were illegally treated in connection with the controversial corruption scandal involving Hyundai Motor's tax probe during the tenure of Kim Hyun-joon, the candidate for National Tax Service (NTS) chief, as head of the Seoul Regional Tax Office.
Rep. Shim pointed out that when Kim investigated the case, he did not notify the investigation agency of the violation of the law on illegal solicitation and bribery, and that no disciplinary action has been taken against the officials so far.
In September last year, multiple media outlets reported that three investigators of the Seoul Regional Tax Office went down to Hyundai Motor's Ulsan plant for a tax investigation and received meals and drinks three times, and that Hyundai Motor violated the "Kim Young-ran Act" (law on the prohibition of receiving bribes, including illicit favors and bribes) by paying the expenses.
Shim, however, confirmed the tip he had obtained from a Hyundai employee to the National Tax Service, and said, "Even before last September, all 14 inspectors of the Seoul Regional Tax Office, which is in charge of regular tax audits on large companies, were entertained at a restaurant in the evening and were entertained at nearby entertainment establishments at night."
"It turned out to be true after confirming the details of the entertainment that were not in the media at the time and the names of the residence where the NTS officials stayed," Shim said. "We need to investigate how much Kim intervened in the case and gave illegal instructions as the head of the Seoul National Tax Service at the time."
"Unlike Sim's claim, the NTS began disciplinary action against all those involved in the scandal in January this year," an official at the NTS's spokesman's office said on June 26. "The central disciplinary committee will decide whether to punish them or not. The NTS is waiting for a conclusion after its request for disciplinary action."
He also explained that many of those involved in the irregularities were not directly related to Kim as the case occurred before Kim became the head of the Seoul Regional Tax Office.