Lee Kun- Hee
Samsung's Lee Kun- Hee Retains $4 Billion Fortune in Inheritance Case

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Ku- Hee has won a court battle pursued by his estranged family members to hand over billions of dollars of shares in various Samsung Groups companies.

A South Korean court ruled in favour of Lee, 71, who was accused of hiding the family fortune from his siblings following the death of their father and the founder of Samsung, Lee Byung-Chul in 1987.

The plaintiffs include Lee's brother Lee Maeng Hee and sister Lee Sook Hee and other relatives.

The three lawsuits filed against Lee revolve around shares worth nearly $4bn (£2.5bn, €2.9bn) in Samsung Electronics and Samsung Life Insurance that had been held under the names of several other people including Samsung employees. Lee countered the lawsuits with the argument that he was his father's chosen successor.

The court ruled that Lee could retain over $1bn in Samsung Electronics shares and another $1bn in shares of Samsung Life which would allow him to remain as the biggest shareholder of the latter with 20. 76 percent stakes. The court also allowed Samsung Everland, a small zoo operator and the de facto holding company of the conglomerate to keep its $1bn stake in Samsung Life.

If the ruling of the Seoul Central District Court was against Lee, it would have diluted his holdings in the group companies including Asia's biggest consumer electronics maker, Samsung Electronics.

The Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics posted 76 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits boosted by improved shipments of smartphone and flat- panel televisions.