Seoul, South Korea:
The heirs of South Korean group Samsung on Wednesday announced their intention to pay more than $ 10 billion in inheritance tax – one of the largest inheritance tax settlements in the world – including the donation of works of art of Picasso and Monet.
Lee Kun-hee, the late chairman of Samsung Electronics, was the richest man in the country when he died last October at age 78 after years of hospitalization, leaving assets estimated at 22 trillion won ( $ 19.6 billion).
South Korea has strict inheritance tax laws and high rates, resulting in a heavy bill for the family, including Samsung Electronics’ vice president Lee Jae-yong, who is currently in jail for bribery, embezzlement and other offenses.
Lee’s family “expects to pay more than 12 trillion won in inheritance taxes, which is more than half of the value of the late president’s total estate,” Samsung said in a statement. .
“The inheritance tax payment is one of the largest ever paid in Korea and around the world,” he added, saying the Lee family would pay it back in six installments starting this month.
The assets include stakes in Samsung Electronics, Samsung Life and Samsung C&T, as well as real estate, the statement said.
The late president also left a treasure trove of antiques and works of art worth 2-3 trillion won.
About 23,000 pieces from Lee’s collection will be donated, Samsung said, including 14 items classified as national treasures that will be on display at the National Museum of Korea.
Works by artists Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin as well as Claude Monet, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali will be donated to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, he added.
Reports indicate that art donations will reduce the family’s tax liability.
Another trillion won will be donated to health causes, half of which will be spent on building the South’s first infectious disease hospital.
Samsung – whose flagship subsidiary is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of smartphones and computer chips – is by far the largest of the family-controlled empires, known as the chaebols, which dominate business in South Korea, the 12th largest economy in the world.
The conglomerate is essential to the economic health of the South – its aggregate turnover is equivalent to one-fifth of the national gross domestic product.
The eldest son of the late chairman and de facto head of the group, Lee Jae-yong was jailed in January for a massive corruption scandal that brought down former chairman Park Geun-hye.
He is facing a separate stock manipulation lawsuit, which critics say was key to ensuring a smooth succession of power within the conglomerate.
Lee apologized last May for some governance issues within the group, pledging to ensure “there will be no more controversy over the succession” and that he will not allow his children to leave him. succeed within the company.
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