The Straits Times
Published on Feb 01, 2013

Samsung Elec chairman wins $4.9b court feud over family fortune


SEOUL (REUTERS) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd Chairman Lee Kun Hee fended off a lawsuit by estranged family members demanding he hand over billions of dollars of shares in Samsung companies as a South Korean court ruled in his favour on Friday.

Mr Lee, 71, and Samsung Everland, a de facto holding company for the country's largest conglomerate, were defending three lawsuits by Mr Lee's relatives seeking nearly US$4 billion (S$4.9 billion) in assets in Samsung Life Insurance Co Ltd, which sits at the heart of the web of Samsung group shareholdings, and Samsung Electronics, the group's crown jewel.

The lawsuit was unlikely to have deprived Mr Lee of his control over Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, TVs and memory chips.

But a ruling against him would have diluted his holdings and could have forced a reshuffling of the intricate shareholdings across the Samsung group if he were to retain his grip.