Samsung heiress ordered to pay $10.4m in divorce

Ms Lee Boo Jin and Mr Im Woo Jae married in 1999. In late 2014, Ms Lee filed for divorce and custody of their child.
Ms Lee Boo Jin and Mr Im Woo Jae married in 1999. In late 2014, Ms Lee filed for divorce and custody of their child.

SEOUL • A Seoul court yesterday ordered Samsung Group heiress Lee Boo Jin to provide assets of 8.6 billion won (S$10.4 million) to her estranged husband in a divorce from the former employee of a Samsung affiliate.

Ms Lee, the 46-year-old chief executive of Hotel Shilla and daughter of ailing Samsung Group patriarch Lee Kun Hee, received sole custody of their son in the ruling, a spokesman for the Seoul family court told Reuters.

If appealed within two weeks, however, the ruling is not final.

Mr Im Woo Jae, 48, was dubbed "Mr Cinderella" by the media for his humble background before marrying Ms Lee in 1999. In late 2014, Ms Lee filed for divorce and custody of their child.

Mr Im, who filed his own suit seeking 1.2 trillion won from Ms Lee, plans to appeal against the ruling, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing his lawyers.

An employee of a security service affiliate of Samsung, Mr Im was an unusual match for a member of a family controlling South Korea's most powerful business conglomerate, Reuters reported.

But Mr Im told the Monthly Chosun in an interview last year that he started out working as a bodyguard for Mr Lee.

Mr Im also told Korean publication Hankyoreh he did not speak a word of English at the time and had to go to the US to study.

He earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after marrying Ms Lee and rose quickly through the ranks at Samsung, becoming an executive vice-president at Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Reuters reported.

Forbes estimates Ms Lee's worth at US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'Samsung heiress ordered to pay $10.4m in divorce'. Print Edition | Subscribe