Skip to content

Late Samsung chairman’s family sell $2 billion worth of shares to help pay huge South Korean inheritance tax

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee with daughters Lee Boo-jin (R) and Lee Seo-hyun, followed by his wife, Hong Ra-hee, in Las Vegas, 2012.Steve Marcus / Reuters

  • The former Samsung Electronics chairman, who was South Korea’s richest person, died in 2020.

  • Lee Kun-hee’s family is now selling billions worth of shares to pay inheritance taxes.

  • South Korea has a top inheritance tax rate of 50%, the world’s second highest after Japan.

The widow of the former Samsung Electronics chairman and her two daughters sold billions worth of shares to help pay off their inheritance tax, The Korea Times reported, citing industry sources.

Lee Kun-hee was the richest person in Korea at the time of his death in October 2020, with a fortune worth an estimated $21 billion, per Reuters.

But due to South Korea’s top inheritance tax rate of 50% — the second highest in the world — the family was hit with more than 12 trillion won, which is now around $9 billion, in tax bills.

“It is our civic duty and responsibility to pay all taxes,” the family said in 2021, adding that “the inheritance tax payment is one of the largest ever in Korea and globally.”

This week, Lee’s widow Hong Ra-hee and her daughters Boo-jin and Seo-hyun sold a combined $2 billion worth of shares to raise funds to help pay the bill.

Shares in Samsung Electronics were made with a 1.2% to 2% discount to the stock’s previous closing price thanks to high demand, Bloomberg reported.

The family also said in 2021 that it would donate around 23,000 pieces of their art collection, including works by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí and cubist Pablo Picasso, to South Korean national museums to try and cut down the massive tax bill.

The family added that it was also planning to give $900 million to philanthropic causes, as Business Insider previously reported.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, arrives at Seoul high court in Seoul, South Korea, October 25, 2019.    REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, arrives at Seoul high court in SeoulReuters

Lee Kun-hee’s son Jay Y. Lee had been de facto head of Samsung since 2014, the BBC reported.

The younger Lee has twiced faced prison time for his part in a government corruption scandal after he was accused of bribing a former president to help win support for his succession at Samsung.

He was pardoned in 2022 after the Justice Ministry ruled that as a key businessman, he was needed to help the country battle a “national economic crisis.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *