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Former ranking tax official suspected of receiving 3 bln won from SK Group

All Headlines 11:39 June 25, 2011

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Saturday that they are investigating an allegation that a former high-ranking tax agency official received billions of won from an affiliate of SK Group in return for business favors.

Lee Hee-wan, who had served as the Investigation Bureau chief at the National Tax Service (NTS), was suspected of having received 50 million won (US$46,000) monthly from an affiliate of SK Group, a major local conglomerate. Lee declared the payments as advisory fees.

Between June 2006 and October 2010, he was found to have received a total of around 3 billion won, said prosecutors from the Seoul District Prosecutors' Office. He retired from the post in 2006.

Investigators, who considered the amount of money too high to have been advisory fees, said that Lee allegedly received the money in exchange for interfering in NTS inspections into the group while in office.

But officials of SK Group, whom prosecutors summoned for questioning over the suspicions, denied the allegations, claiming that they had made the payments as advisory fees under a legal contract with Lee, according to the prosecutors.

Lee is also suspected of having received a total of 300 million won from a local maker of water purifiers after retirement, prosecutors said.

Lee, 62, was arrested earlier this month on charges of receiving 300 million won from an official of the country's biggest agency that assists college students wishing to transfer schools.


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