The chairman of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co is being sued by his elder sister as part of a growing feud over the vast family inheritance, her lawyer said yesterday.
Lee Sook-hee filed the suit demanding that Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee return part of the sum that their father left before dying in 1987, a spokesman for the Hwawoo law firm said.
The spokesman declined to give details, but said the legal action was on the same lines as an earlier suit filed by Lee Maeng-hee, the elder brother of the 70-year-old chairman. Lee Maeng-hee accuses the Samsung boss of taking over shares that their father, the founder of the group, had held under the names of other people, including Samsung executives.
He demanded that the younger brother return shares in Samsung Electronics — the group’s flagship firm — and in Samsung Life -Insurance as well as cash, worth 710 billion won (US$623 million) in total.
Yonhap news agency said the sister was demanding the return of assets worth about 190 billion won, including shares in the same two Samsung units. It was unclear why the two siblings were filing suits so late after their father’s death.
“We understand that the matter of inheritance has long since been settled,” a Samsung group spokesman said without elaborating.
Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull, who in 1938 founded the company that is now South Korea’s largest business group, had three sons and five daughters. The second son, Lee Kun-hee, has pushed Samsung Electronics to become the world’s top chipmaker and the second-largest mobile phone maker behind Nokia.
He was South Korea’s richest man in 2010, according to a Forbes Asia list that estimated his worth at the time at US$7.9 billion.