SM Entertainment released an official statement denying Lee Soo Man's ties to the Pandora Papers report.
On October 3rd, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC has revealed an exposé regarding the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians, and billionaires dubbed, 'Pandora Papers'. More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the report and the independent non-profit media outlet Newstapa participated from Korea.
On the morning of October 4th KST, SM Entertainment released an official statement denying Lee Soo Man's involvement in global tax evasion. The official statement reads as follows.
"Hello, this is SM Entertainment.
We are writing in regards to Newstapa's October 4th reports titled, "Koreans who flocked to tax haven in 2021...Pandora Papers", "K-Pop's godfather Lee Soo Man's paper companies in Hong Kong", and "Lee Soo Man and paper company's Malibu summer house purchasing collaboration".
Newstapa reported that the head producer Lee Soo Man has bought a real estate property in the U.S. through a paper company in Hong Kong to evade the lawful limit of purchasing real estate overseas and he is practically behind the suspicious paper companies in Hong Kong.
However, the aforementioned companies in Hong Kong were founded using funds in Korea owned by James Heejae Lee, a U.S. immigrant and a father of the producer Lee Soo Man, unlike the report alleged that the producer Lee Soo Man has secretly amassed wealth overseas.
Back then, James Heejae Lee wired his funds through a legal method and set up companies in Hong Kong, for which we have provided all the relative paper works to the Newstapa reporters.
And James HeeJae Lee's remaining estate in Hong Kong was inherited by his wife Grace Kyonghyon Lee, and she has ultimately donated to JG Christian Charity Foundation per his last will. We have also provided documents and files pertaining to this to the Newstapa reporters.
SM and producer Lee Soo Man did our best explaining the source of the funds and usage of those funds to the Newstapa reporters with valid supporting evidence.
Nevertheless, we are deeply sorry that they had to report as if SM and producer Lee Soo Man were behind those companies for illegal purposes including tax evasions.
Further, the companies mentioned in Newstapa's report went through government assessments in 2014 by National Tax Service and Financial Supervisory Service, in 2015 by the Supreme Prosecutors' Office of the Republic of Korea, and in 2020 by National Tax Service. And all assessments confirmed that companies were set up through legal methods.
SM and the producer Lee Soo Man have decided Newstapa and their reporters have significantly defamed us through their groundless accusations, which we have also decided to pursue all possible legal action.
We once again ask to refrain from spreading groundless rumors that could potentially harm reputation."