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Samsung heirs to pay record $10.79 billion in inheritance tax

Seoul, Apr 28 (EFE).- The heirs of the late Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee said Wednesday that they will pay more than 12 trillion won (around $10.79 billion) in inheritance tax, a record in South Korea.

“The Family plans to pay the full amount of the inheritance tax over a period of five years in six installments, starting in April 2021,” they said in a statement issued by the Samsung Group.

Lee, the richest man in South Korea who died in October, is survived by his wife Hong Ra-hee, his two daughters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun, and his son Lee Jae-yong, the de-facto leader of the conglomerate since 2014 when his father had a heart attack and was incapacitated until his death last year.

The tax payment is equivalent to three to four times the South Korean government’s total estate tax revenue last year, the statement said.

It is believed that Lee’s assets exceed 22 trillion won, but the statement did not say how the shares would be distributed among the heirs.

The late chief owned a 4.18 percent stake in the group’s star company, Samsung Electronics, 20.76 percent in insurance company Samsung Life, 2.88 percent in the group’s parent company, Samsung C&T, and 0.01 percent in battery manufacturer Samsung SDS.

Experts believe that the distribution will be made to strengthen the leadership of Lee Jae-yong – who already controls 17.33 percent of Samsung C & T – over the group.

Lee Jae-yong is currently in prison after a retrial of a bribery case involving former president Park Geun-hye.

The heirs also announced that they will donate 1 trillion won to build a hospital and research laboratory for infectious diseases, and a program to pay for treatments for children with cancer and rare diseases.

They will also donate 23,000 pieces of art collected by Lee Kun-hee, including South Korean national treasures as well as works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí, to two national museums in Seoul. EFE

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