Samsung boss sued by sister for inheritance in growing family feud


Lee Kun-hee, chairman of South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics, is being sued by his sister, as part of a spiralling family feud over a vast multi-million dollar inheritance of company shares.

Lee Sook-Hee filed a suit against her 70-year-old brother demanding that he hand over part of the sum that their father left before his death in 1987, her lawyer told the Agence France Presse on Tuesday.

The siblings’ father, Lee Byunch-chull, founded Samsung in 1938. The Samsung group includes electronics, telecoms, construction and shipbuilding among its companies, and had a turnover of $220 billion in 2010.

The Yonhap news agency reported that Lee Sook-Hee is demanding the return of assets worth around $169 million.

More from GlobalPost: Samsung boss sued by brother over inheritance

Tuesday’s action follows on from a similar suit filed two weeks ago by Lee Kun-hee’s brother, Lee Maeng-Hee, 80, who is seeking the return of shares worth $623 million.

Lee Maeng-Hee is accusing his younger brother of keeping 8 million shares in Samsung Life Insurance and 20 shares in Samsung Electronics for himself.

According to court documents filed by Lee Maeng-Hee, “the stocks… were assets put in a trust in the name of non-heirs, and they should have been apportioned to the heirs according to law.”

It is not clear why Lee Sook-Hee and her brother are suing Lee Kun-hee so long after their father’s death. A Samsung group spokesman told AFP: “We understand that the matter of inheritance has long since been settled,” without providing any further details.

Lee Kun-hee took over the chairmanship of Samsung after Lee Byunch-chull's death in 1987. He was forced to resign in disgrace in April 2008 after being charged with tax evasion and breach of trust.

He was convicted on the tax charges, but received a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to head up Samsung in 2010, according to the BBC.

In January Samsung Electronics reported a 17 percent rise in profits for the final quarter of 2011. 

More from GlobalPost: Samsung surges past Apple in smartphone sales

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