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Samsung boss sued by brother over father's inheritance

14 February 12 11:15
Lee Kun-Hee is being sued by his brother over their father's inheritance

The chairman of South Korean electronics giant Samsung is being sued by his brother over a multi-million dollar inheritance of company shares.

Lee Kun-Hee, 70, is being sued by Lee Maeng-Hee, 80, for 700bn Korean won ($623m; £396m).

The dispute centres on eight million shares in Samsung Life Insurance, and 20 shares in Samsung Electronics inherited from their father.

Lee Kun-Hee is accused of keeping the shares for himself.

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

In a statement, Samsung said: "This is a civil suit and therefore the company has no official comment."

The brothers' father Lee Byung-chull, who died in 1987, founded Samsung selling dried fish in South Korea in 1938.

The Samsung Group now includes shipbuilding, telecoms, electronics and construction among its companies, and had a turnover of $220bn in 2010.

Last month, Samsung Electronics reported a 17% rise in profits for the last three months of 2011.

Presidential pardon

Lee Kun-Hee took over the chairmanship of Samsung in 1987.

However, in April 2008, he resigned in disgrace after being charged with tax evasion and breach of trust.

He was convicted on the tax charges, but was given a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to lead Samsung in 2010.

A keen sportsman, he has listed his hobbies as including golf, equestrian sports, table tennis and skiing.

He is rumoured to have privately rented three ski slopes in the French Alps for his own personal use.

According to the 2010 Forbes Rich List, Lee Kun-Hee was the richest man in South Korea with a personal fortune of $7.9bn.

His son, wife, sister and two daughters also made the list of South Korea's richest people.

His son, Lee Jae-yong, was appointed chief operating officer at Samsung Electronics in December 2009, and is widely seen as his father's successor.

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