- South Korea tycoon charged
- Licence tenure of childcare centre reduced
- Licence of hawker who passed off beef as mutton revoked
SEOUL: The head of South Korean food and entertainment giant CJ Group was charged with embezzlement and tax evasion, prosecutors said, as Seoul seeks to rein in family-controlled business groups.
Lee Jae-hyun, 53, allegedly stashed away undeclared assets worth about 96 billion won (RM273mil) and evading taxes worth 54.6 billion won (RM155mil) since 2004.
"This is a case where a business tycoon illicitly pocketed funds diverted from listed companies and evaded tax," prosecutor Park Jeong-shik told journalists yesterday.
Lee created some 10 shell companies in foreign countries including Singapore and Hong Kong to avoid tax, he said.
Three other former and current executives of the group were also charged as accomplices.
CJ group said the accused accepted the result of the investigation and had apologised.
Lee is a nephew of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of the Samsung Group.
CJ, which started out as a food company, has been expanding aggressively to other businesses such as entertainment and retail.
The indictment comes as President Park Geun-hye's government is seeking to prevent all-embracing conglomerates from extending into small businesses.
Combined revenue of the group, including the country's largest food company and cinema chains, amounted to 26.8 trillion won (RM76bil) last year.
Business tycoons in South Korea have often got off lightly for their wrongdoing, with courts recognising their contribution to the economy as a reason for leniency.
Lee's uncle – convicted of tax evasion – was pardoned in 2009.
Chung Mong-koo, the head of the country's top car maker Hyundai, was also pardoned in 2008 after being convicted of embezzlement and other charges. — AFP
THE licence tenure for NTUC My First Skool in Toa Payoh Lorong 4 has been reduced from 24 months to six months.
Acting Minister of Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced this after a visit to KLC School of Education yesterday.
The childcare centre is where a part-time teacher allegedly abused a three-year-old boy on July 5.
The teacher has since been arrested and sacked.
The childcare centre was issued a warning letter on Wednesday.
Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) chief executive Lee Tung Jean said the centre will have to provide more support and training for teachers, and have clearer procedures in place for incident reporting.
She said ECDA officers will conduct more frequent visits to the centre, and its licence could be renewed if the centre demonstrates that it complies with the remedial measures. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network
A hawker was fined S$3,000 (RM7,570) and had the operating licence of his stall revoked with effect from July 18 for passing off beef as mutton.
In a statement yesterday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said that it had investigated Haja Maideen Mee Stall, which is located at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre in Jalan Bukit Merah, following public feedback on Feb 18.
It conducted DNA tests on samples of mutton mee goreng from the stall and found beef, although subsequent sampling of mutton dishes sold there did not find any adulterated meat.
Shaul Hameed, the licensee of the stall, was brought to court, and he pleaded guilty to a charge under the Sale of Food Act on July 16.
He will be barred from holding any food retail licence issued by NEA, and will not be allowed to register as a food handler.
The NEA said that it will continue their sampling programme and follow up on feedback it receives. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network
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