Prosecutors have sought a fine of 100 billion won from British American Tobacco (BAT) Korea, which was put on trial for evading cigarette taxes worth 50 billion won.
Prosecutors made the request at a hearing held at the Seoul Central District Court on Nov. 25 on charges of violating the law on aggravated punishment of specific economic crimes by four people, including A, a former CEO of BAT Korea.
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence B, the executive vice president of the General Bureau of Production and Logistics, and C, the director in charge of logistics, to five years in prison, respectively, and a combined fine of 50.3 billion won.
As for the former CEO, who is staying out of the country as a foreigner, the trial has been postponed because he is not attending the trial as well as the prosecution's investigation.
Prosecutors strongly criticized the man, calling it an act of disrespecting the law and the court in South Korea by using his foreign status. Before the sentence, the court ordered the man to enter the country.
A and others are suspected of manipulating the entire volume of cigarettes on Dec. 31, 2014, as if they had been taken out of a manufacturing facility in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.
According to the prosecution, the amount of tax evasion applied to them totaled 50.3 billion won, including 14.6 billion won in individual consumption taxes, 24.8 billion won in tobacco consumption taxes and 10.9 billion won in local education taxes.
They manipulated the entire production just as if cigarettes were taken out just before the cigarette tax was raised. Cigarette-related taxes are required to be taxed "when taken out of the manufacturing plant," which BAT Korea reportedly paid tobacco-related taxes on a pre-increase basis.
A lawyer for the BAT pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying, "The defendants have only carried out the expelling process like the cases just made in the past. It is unfair to face criminal charges." The court plans to proceed with the first trial on Dec. 20.