Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee has managed to tell his estranged family to go forth and multiply in a family feud worthy of Dynasty.
Kun-hee has been having a long running legal battle with his estranged family members who want him to hand over billions of dollars of shares in Samsung companies.
The lawsuits accused Lee of hiding billions of dollars in shareholdings inherited from his dad, Lee said that he was his father’s chosen successor, so he had free rein to transfer group company shares.
Lee, 71, and Samsung Everland, a de facto holding company for the country’s largest conglomerate, were defending three lawsuits by Lee’s relatives seeking nearly $4 billion in assets in Samsung Life Insurance. According to Reuters, the insurance company sits at the heart of the web of Samsung group while apparently Samsung sits on the crown. We’re not sure which part of Samsung Kun-hee sits upon.
While the lawsuit was unlikely to have deprived Lee of his control over Samsung Electronics a ruling against him would have diluted his holdings and could have forced a reshuffle.
It also was happening at a time when Lee’s son Jay Lee, 44, was promoted to vice chairman in a move that can be seen as replacement grooming.
Now, a judge at the Seoul Central District Court ruled that Lee could retain more than $1 billion in Samsung Electronics shares and another $1 billion in shares of Samsung Life.
Samsung Everland, a small zoo operator, was also allowed to keep its $1 billion stake in Samsung Life. Lee will remain Samsung Life’s biggest shareholder with a 20.76 percent stake.