Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee’s $21 billion wealth could attract record-high inheritance taxes

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Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee passed away yesterday at the age of 78, leaving behind KRW 23 trillion (around $21 billion) in wealth. Lee Kun-hee is survived by his wife Hong Ra-hee, his only son Lee Jae-yong, and two daughters: Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun.

He was the richest person in South Korea, and his personal wealth would now be distributed among his family. As per South Korean laws, the family members would have to pay record-high inheritance taxes of over KRW 10 trillion.

The senior Lee had stakes in four listed Samsung companies, and they are reportedly worth KRW 18 trillion (around $15.9 billion). He owned a 4.18% stock ownership in Samsung Electronics (and preferred shares of 0.08%), 29.76% shares in Samsung Life Insurance, 2.88% shares in Samsung C&T, and 0.01% shares in Samsung SDS.

Lee Kun-hee’s two known homes in central Seoul are the priciest individual homes in the country. They have areas of 1,245.1 sq. meters and 3,422.9 square metres, and they are valued at KRW 40.9 billion (around $36 million) and KRW 34.2 billion (around $30.2 million), respectively.

Industry sources believe that Lee Kun-hee’s heirs would pay around KRW 10.6 trillion (around $9.3 billion) in inheritance taxes for the stocks. However, they might choose to pay the taxes over several years as the South Korean law allows payment of inheritance taxes in instalments over the course of five years.

Hong Ra-hee holds a 0.91% stake in Samsung Electronics, while Lee Jae-Yong, who will be the next chairman, holds a 0.7% stake in the tech giant. The junior Lee also has a 17.33% stake in Samsung C&T and more stakes in other Samsung Group firms.

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