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Court to rule on Samsung family feud
Publication Date : 01-02-2013
The ongoing legal battle among Samsung family members will see a new development Friday as the Seoul Central District Court is scheduled to rule on the first trial concerning the claims over the late Samsung founder’s inheritance that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate.
The main bone of contention is the claim by Lee Maeng-hee, elder brother to Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, to more than 4 trillion won *US$3.67 billion) of Lee and Samsung’s assets.
The elder Lee claims that he is worth that amount of money, which is mostly in the form of stocks in Samsung Electronics and Samsung Life, the life insurance arm of Samsung.
The assets had been in the late founder Lee Byung-chull’s name before they were listed under the names of key Samsung executives to avoid inheritance taxes.
This poses a problem for the Samsung chairman since sharing the stocks could change the governance structure of Samsung: Samsung Life will have to sell off its shares in Samsung Electronics according to related laws, while Samsung Everland will surface as the top stakeholder of the company.
Further, the elder Lee would have a bigger say in management matters, which is another concern for the Samsung Electronics chairman.
If Lee loses, it may appear that the law has chosen to ignore that a large part of the Samsung wealth had been under false names, which is a dilemma the courts face, industry watchers noted.
Both sides said they would appeal if the ruling was not in their favour.