Customs authorities’ investigation into the owner family of the Hanjin Group is zeroing in on Korean Air's alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act.
About 40 customs officers from the Seoul Customs Service raided five departments including the finance department at the headquarters and the IT center of Korean Air on May 16.
The new allegations emerged in the process of the customs officers’ scrutiny of the company’s foreign currency transactions in connection with the group owner family’s alleged smuggling and tax evasion.
While the three previous raids focused on tariff evasion, investigators this time looked for evidence of their suspicions that the owner family violated the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act.
In particular, the Seoul Customs Service, not the Incheon Regional Customs, carried out the search and seizure, suggesting that investigators have discovered some cases where the owner family members sent or brought in foreign currencies without reporting.
The Hanjin Group owner family is now being investigated not only for alleged smuggling and tax evasion but for allegedly stashing property abroad through illegal foreign exchange transactions such as disguised remittances.
"The seizure and search will take a long time because the raid targeted five headquarters and a computer center,“said an official of the Korea Customs Service.
Meanwhile, the Incheon Customs Office raided the homes of the Hanjin Group owner family members including the three children of group chairman Cho Yang-ho -- Cho Hyun-ah, Cho Hyun-ah and Cho Won-tae -- and the offices of Korean Air on April 21. On April 23, Incheon Customs officers carried out an additional search and seizure of the headquarters of Korean Air.
On May 2, they raided the home of chairman Cho in Pyeongchang-dong and discovered three secret rooms -- one in the first basement floor and two in the second basement floor.