SEOUL — Picasso, Monet and Dalí are among the many belongings South Korea’s richest household is parting with because it prepares to pay one of many largest inheritance tax payments in historical past.

The Samsung household introduced on Wednesday that it could pay $10.Eight billion in inheritance taxes after the demise of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s chairman, final 12 months. South Korea has one of many highest inheritance taxes on the planet. ​The household is required to tell the tax authorities of the way it plans to pay the invoice by Friday.

The reply can have deep implications for the household’s management of the corporate, the largest and most worthwhile family-run conglomerate in South Korea. ​

Mr. Lee was credited with turning Samsung into a world tech big recognized for its semiconductors and smartphones. But the reclusive chairman saved many secrets and techniques, together with how he needed to separate his wealth ​amongst his spouse and three kids after he died.

Mr. Lee’s solely son, Lee Jae-yong, is the de facto chief of Samsung. If he inherits his father’s shares in Samsung subsidiaries, it should tighten his management of the corporate. But it stays unclear how a lot he’ll inherit or how he’ll increase the billions of {dollars} wanted to pay the inheritance tax. ​

Analysts anticipated Mr. Lee to promote some nonessential Samsung shares and safe financial institution loans​, hoping to pay them again with dividend payouts ​from his Samsung holdings​.

“How to split Chairman Lee’s fortune is at the heart of the question of who controls Samsung,” stated Chung Sun-sup, editor of, which displays South Korea’s household conglomerates, often known as chaebol. “It appears that the family has not yet reached a complete agreement.”

The Lees are South Korea’s richest household. The $10.Eight billion is greater than half the worth of the daddy’s complete property, and greater than 3 times the entire inheritance taxes the federal government collected final 12 months, in response to Samsung.

The household ​stated it could donate Mr. Lee’s private artwork assortment of 23,000 works to nationwide and provincial museums in South Korea as a part of its plan to eliminate his property. The assortment is estimated to be value $2.2 billion by some South Korean media. It contains certainly one of Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” and Pablo Picasso’s “Portrait of Dora Maar.”

The household additionally dedicated $900 million to struggle the expansion of infectious illnesses, and to assist kids affected by most cancers and uncommon illnesses. Half of the sum can be spent constructing South Korea’s first hospital devoted completely to infectious illnesses.

The Lee household stated the donations mirrored Mr. Lee’s intentions of “giving back to communities. ”​ But this sudden generosity comes from a household that has struggled to enhance its public picture.

In January, the son, who’s vice chairman of Samsung, was imprisoned after being sentenced to 2 and half years for bribery. ​In current weeks, enterprise lobbying teams have ​appealed to the federal government to pardon ​Lee Jae-yong in order that he may lead Samsung amid rising uncertainty within the semiconductor trade.

“It is our civic duty and responsibility to pay all taxes,” the Lees stated on Wednesday in a press release.

​The household has not all the time abided by that rule.

Samsung has lengthy confronted accusations of making an attempt to safe a father-son switch of energy in any respect prices, even when that meant breaking legal guidelines, avoiding taxes and shopping for political affect. It’s an issue that Lee Jae-yong has acknowledged himself.

“All of the problems basically started from this succession issue,” he said final 12 months. “From now on, I will make sure that no controversy happens again regarding the succession issue.”

His father acquired a suspended three-year jail sentence in 2009 for evading taxes on billions of {dollars} he secretly inherited from his father, the Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull. He hid the cash in inventory accounts opened within the names of his aides. Samsung on the time stated Lee Kun-hee had saved the key funds to guard the corporate from hostile takeovers from international buyers.

Lee Jae-yong’s authorized bother stemmed from the same drawback. In January, ​he was convicted of bribing South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye to acquire authorities help for a merger of two Samsung subsidiaries in 2015. The merger was meant to tighten his management over Samsung.

Who will management Samsung has been the topic of a lot public curiosity because the father’s demise. The firm accounts for one-fifth of South Korea’s complete exports. Samsung Electronics, the flagship of the group, alone posted $213 billion in income and $32 billion in working revenue final 12 months.

Lee Jae-yong has been operating the conglomerate since a coronary heart assault incapacitated his father in 2014. He owns solely 0.7 % of Samsung Electronics however holds 17.5 % of Samsung C&T, a subsidiary created by way of the 2015 merger. His siblings additionally maintain smaller stakes, giving the household a controlling stake within the firm.

Through an internet of round holdings, the household continues to manage the conglomerate. ​Samsung C&T owns 5 % of Samsung Electronics and 19.three % of Samsung Life. Samsung Life owns 8.5 % of Samsung Electronics.

Lee Kun-hee owned 4.18 % of Samsung Electronics, in addition to 20.7 % of Samsung Life. How these shares can be divided amongst ​the household will have an effect on the son’s possibilities of operating the enterprise.

By regulation, the chairman’s widow, Hong Ra-hee, is entitled to one-third of the entire inheritance, with the remainder break up equally amongst ​Mr. ​Lee and his two sisters. But chaebol households typically attain a non-public settlement to make sure that the eldest son controls the corporate.

Some South Koreans on Wednesday have been ​amazed to be taught the quantity of inheritance taxes to be paid by the Lee household.

“Ordinary people like me can’t fathom how much it is,” stated Park Soon-mi, a stay-at-home mum or dad in Seoul. “It’s good for the chairman to ​​leave so much money in taxes and make such big donations for the society.”

Others weren’t so impressed.

This just isn’t the primary time the Lee household has promised to make use of its wealth to profit society as half of a bigger scheme. Back in 2008, when Lee Kun-hee was indicted on expenses of evading taxes, Samsung stated he would use the cash “not for the chairman or his family, but for some beneficial causes.”

The household had not saved its phrase till Wednesday, stated Kang Jong-min, a chaebol skilled on the civic group Solidarity for Economic Reform in Seoul. “It is belatedly following up on its old promise.”

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