SEOUL-- Several heads of South Korea's family-controlled conglomerates have taken advantage of a legal loophole to avoid disclosing their pay, data showed Thursday.

Under existing rules, firms are required to disclose the annual salaries of their registered executives who earn more than 500 million won (US$442,000) a year.

Still, 8 out of 26 heads of conglomerates, locally called chaebol, have not been registered as executives at either holding companies or flagship companies of their business groups, meaning that they can avoid releasing their salary information.

The eight chaebol owners include Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics Co.; Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn; Lee Jae-hyun, chairman of South Korea's entertainment giant CJ Group; Lee Myung-hee, chairwoman of retail giant Shinsegae Group, according to the data compiled by the Financial Supervisory Service.

The move sparked criticism that some chaebol owners have taken advantage of the loophole to avoid tighter public scrutiny over the hefty sum of money they receive as compensation.

Source: Yonhap News Agency