Newstapa, also known as the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ), is at the center of a storm of controversy after it published the first list of 245 Koreans who own offshore front companies

2013-05-23 17:07

‘Newstapa’ rocks nation

By Kang Hyun-kyung

Newstapa, also known as the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ), is at the center of a storm of controversy after it published the first list of Koreans who own offshore front companies.

The independent Internet news provider is the only Korean media outlet which is part of the global project, “Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze,” spearheaded by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).Quoting the ICIJ, Newstapa said it was chosen as a Korean partner for the global project because it is a non-profit, independent news group that focuses on long-term investigative reports.

Newstapa said its journalists have worked with dozens of international journalists over the past weeks on the tax haven project.

Based on the findings, it said 245 Koreans, including tycoons and corporate executives, have paper companies and assets in tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands and the Cook Islands. The Internet media outlet said this number might increase because it will continue to work closely together with ICIJ journalists on follow-up reports.

“Tapa” means “overthrow” and Newstapa seeks to provide an alternative to mainstream news in Korea. Established in 2011 by the progressive National Union of Media Workers, it produces in-depth, investigative reports to satisfy readers’ wants rather than merely copying government press releases.

Former YTN TV reporter Roh Jong-myoun and other seasoned media professionals, from broadcast and print media, joined the outlet as founding members.

The Internet news broadcaster is run on donations from citizens, with the number of donators standing at 28,631 as of Thursday according to its homepage.

In January 2012, Newstapa released its first investigative report on the relocations of polling stations. It said the National Election Commission relocated nearly 25 percent of polling stations for the Oct. 26 Seoul mayoral election in a bid to discourage voters who support a candidate from the opposition party from casting their votes.

It has also reported in great detail on other sensitive social issues such as the Jeju naval base controversy and the four-river refurbishment project pushed by the former Lee Myung-bak government.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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