According to the liquor industry on Nov. 29, the No. 4 investigation bureau of the Seoul National Tax Service launched a tax probe into Oriental Brewery and visited its headquarters, logistics center and factory in southern Seoul on Nov. 26 to secure related documents.
The number of agents visiting the site is also believed to be 150 people, heralding a high-intensity investigation.
Oriental Brewery says it is a regular survey that is received every four to five years, but the industry sees the survey as a special tax investigation as the No. 4 investigation bureau is in charge.
Normally, the No. 1 investigation bureau will take charge of the regular investigation, while the No. 4 unit will take charge of the special investigation. The latter will launch investigations when there are allegations or intelligence about corporate tax evasion and slush funds.
Industry sources say the tax probe into Oriental Brewery is related to "rebate."
There were frequent price adjustments to the Cass and many illegal rebates were traded ahead of the implementation of the revised liquor notice that bans rebates. Oriental Brewery is also related to this, which is why the National Tax Service is looking into it, according to industry sources.
In addition, some analysts say the tax probe into Oriental Brewery is part of an offshore tax evasion probe targeting the retail industry as a whole.
The National Tax Service has recently conducted a massive investigation into tax evasion through overseas corporations in the retail industry.
In response, an NTS official said, "We cannot tell you the details, methods and responsibilities of the investigation into individual companies."