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Stock funds from tax havens top 2.7 tln won

All Headlines 10:21 April 07, 2016

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- Foreign stock investment funds from international tax havens have exceeded 2.7 trillion won (US$2.34 billion), accounting for more than 6 percent of foreign ownership of South Korean shares, data showed Thursday.

According to the data compiled by market researcher Chaebol.com, foreign residents in tax havens held South Korean stocks worth slightly over 2.7 trillion won as of Tuesday. The amount is more than 6 percent of total foreign stock ownership valued at 44.6 trillion won.

The data is based on an analysis of foreigners who own 5 percent or more stakes in companies listed on the local bourse.

Funds from the Virgin Islands were the largest with slightly over 1 trillion won, followed by Bermuda with 669.8 trillion won, the Cayman Islands with 591.6 billion won and Switzerland with 242.2 billion won.

Many foreign investors were also registered in other tax havens, such as the Bahamas, Malta, the Isle of Man and the Marshall Islands.

The amount of money from tax havens could soar to 15.7 trillion won if funds from Singapore, Hong Kong, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Ireland are included, according to Chaebol.com. The five territories are suspected of being used as tax havens.

Some market watchers said a considerable number of foreign investors from tax havens may actually be South Koreans, who have set up paper companies in those havens to manage their secret funds.

On Monday, the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on Monday disclosed nearly 12 million documents leaked from the files of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The "Panama Papers" reportedly carried details of hundreds of thousands of clients and evidence that some companies based in the tax havens were being used mainly for tax evasion.

The names of politicians, their families and relatives, along with global sports and movie stars, have reportedly been found in the documents.

South Korea's financial watchdog said Tuesday it may investigate 195 South Koreans named in the document to check whether they have violated the country's foreign exchange transaction law.
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