After the death of the founder of Samsung, LeeLee Kun-Hee will donate tens of thousands of rare works of art including Picassos and Dalis to help them pay a massive inheritance tax bill following the death of the company chairman Davos.
They will also give hundreds of millions of dollars to commercial projects and research in an apparent attempt to improve their public image as they complete a multiyear plan to inherit both the wealth and Corporate Power of the richest businessman in South Korea.
Samsung expects to pay more than 12 trillion in inheritance taxes, which is more than half of Lee's wealth in stocks and real estate, said Lee on Wednesday.This would be the biggest amount to pay in South Korea and more than three times the country's total estate tax revenue for last year.
What gifts the late chairman of the vast collection of Art-Maters would reduce the taxable parts of his estate.
The family plans to divide the payment into five installments over six years, while making the first payment this month.
It is our civic duty and responsibility to pay taxes, the Lee family said in a statement.They had until Friday to report the extent of the estate and payment plans to the Tax Authorities.
Raising cash for the tax payment is crucial for Samsung to extend their control over Lee’s business empire, which extends from semiconductors, smartphones and TVs to construction, shipbuilding and insurance.Some analysts say the process could have a major impact across the group.
Lee owned 4.18% of SamsungSamsung Electronics, which is one of the world's largest manufacturers of memory chips and smartphones, but also held uphold to Samsung members that collectively owned a bigger share than his in the crown jewel electronics company.The broad shareholding structure has allowed Lee and his family to exert complex control over the group.
In the statement released on Wednesday, Lee did not mention how LG can split his assets and there is speculation that they haven't reached a final agreement.
Most market analysts believe Lee's shares will be distributed in a way that would strengthen the leadership of his only son and corporate heir LeeLee Jae-yong, director of SamsungSamsung Electronics who is currently jailed for bribery and other crimes.Lee's other children are LeeLee Boo-jin, CEO of Samsung's Shilla luxury hotel chain, and LeeLee Seo-hyun, who runs the Samsung Welfare FoundationSamsung Welfare Foundation.
The family plans to donate 23,000 art pieces from Lee's personal collection to two state museums.They include modern Korean paintings, books and other cultural assets designated as national treasures and former Korean painters such as ParkPark Soo-keun and LeeLee Jung-seop.There are also the works of Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Joan Miro and Paul Gauguin in the Samsung website.
The Lee family said that the 1,488 pieces it received from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art was their biggest private donation.The works included LeeLee Jung-seopLee Jung-seop's Bull, Dali's Family of Marsupial Centaurs, Monet's Water Lily Pond and Chagall's Red Bouquet With Lovers.
The National Museum of Korea will receive around 21,000 pieces from Lee's collection of Korean Traditional Art, including paintings, ceramics and sculptures.
Lee, Korea's culture minister, said some of the art by Lee will be displayed for the public in June.He expressed deep gratitude to the Lee family for enriching the country's cultural assets, but he sidestepped questions on whether he thought Samsung was trying to create a positive atmosphere for LeeLee Jae-yong to get pardoned.
Lee will also donate 1 trillion won to help fund rare disease research and treatment for children with cancer and infectious illnesses.
Around half of this money will be used to help finance the establishment of a 150-bed hospital that provides specialized treatment for infectious diseases.After the emergence of COVID-19, experts raised the need for such facilities equipped with negative pressure rooms and other advanced systems.
Some 300 billion of the funds will go into a decadelong program with the Seoul National University Children's Hospital to help families pay for cancer treatment and invasive disease trials and drugs development and support clinical trials and drug development.
Members of the hope to honor the life of late chairman Smong and his commitment to corporate citizenship and co-prosperity by giving back to communities, Lee said.
Lee was credited for transforming SamsungSamsung Electronics from a small TV electronics maker into a global giant in semiconductors and consumer electronics before his death in October.However, his leadership was also marred by corruption convictions that highlighted the traditionally murky ties between the state's family conglomerates and politicians.After an heart attack in 2014, he had been hospitalized for years.
ParkPark Geun-hye, who has since helmed the company in his capacity as vice chairman of SamsungSamsung Electronics, is currently serving a 2-year sentence for bribing the then-President LeeLee Jae-yong and her close confidante to win government support for a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates.The deal helped Park's control over the Samsung but revelations about his corrupt ties to the Park government fueled a corruption scandal in 2016 that caused massive protests and removed Lee from office.
The younger Lee has pledged to improve Samsung's corporate culture, declaring that heredity transfers would not end at the group and that he would never pass the management rights inherited from his children back.He also said that Samsung would stop harassing workers' attempts to organize unions, even though labor activists have questioned his sincerity.
A growing number of politicians, religious and business leaders have been calling for President Lee to pardon Moon Jae-in.They say it would help improve Lee's global leadership in semiconductors and he could potentially use his business reach to help bring the country out of the crisis by developing more coronavirus vaccines.
Critics point out that Samsung showed no sign of trouble when Lee was in jail in 2017 and 2018 and that prison terms have never really stopped corporate leaders from relaying their management decisions from behind bars.