Samsung's Lee Kun-hee leaves behind $21 billion wealth for inheritance

Andrew Cummings
October 28, 2020

According to reports in Forbes, Mr Lee was the richest man in South Korea, with a fortune worth $20 billion (£15.3bn).

Construction firm Samsung C&T and Samsung Life Insurance, two of the companies that allow the Lee family to control crown jewel Samsung Electronics, saw their stocks jump on the day.

Hong Ra-hee holds a 0.91% stake in Samsung Electronics, while Lee Jae-Yong, who will be the next chairman, holds a 0.7% stake in the tech giant. The area for the memorial was limited to 50 people, a sign said.

During his lifetime, Samsung Electronics developed from a second-tier TV maker to the world's biggest technology firm by revenue - seeing off Japanese brands Sony, Sharp and Panasonic in chips, TVs and displays; ending Nokia's handset supremacy and beating Apple in smartphones.

The funeral will be a small family affair, Samsung said.

"His legacy will be everlasting", Samsung said.

"Chairman Lee passed away on October 25 with his family, including vice-chairman Jay Y Lee, by his side".

"Questions as for how many Samsung Electronics shares that Samsung C&T would be able to obtain will be the crucial point of consideration in Samsung's change of governance structure", Lee Sang-heon of Hi Investment & Securities wrote Monday.

Lee Jae-yong spent nearly a year in prison after being found guilty on multiple charges of bribery and corruption connected to the now-removed President Park Geun-hye.

"At this point, it is hard to expect when Samsung Group will kick off with a restructuring process as Jay Y. Lee is still facing trials, making it hard for the group's management to begin organisational changes", KB Securities analyst Jeong Dong-ik said. He is facing a retrial over the case, and a separate trial on charges of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation kicked off this week.

Alternatively, Samsung's affiliates might also pay higher dividends, leaving more money for the younger generation of Lees to pay the bill. "The key here is with taxes".

It remains unclear how the elder Lee's three children and his wife will split his wealth, an issue that led to family feuds at other chaebols after the deaths of their patriarchs.

The conglomerate did not specify the cause of death and declined to comment on whether Lee left a will. He had been hospitalised since a heart attack in 2014 and was treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s.

Lee Kun-hee built the company into the electronics powerhouse of today, becoming synonymous with the rise of South Korea on a global economic stage.

He was convicted again in 2008 of breach of trust and embezzlement, but the long-time member of the International Olympic Committee was pardoned to help the country's bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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