Samsung’s next owner, Jay Lee, has announced that he does not want to transfer ownership of the group to his children. Lee’s grandfather founded Samsung, his father is now a director. Lee now runs the company, as his father has been in a coma since 2014.
According to Lee, many of Samsung’s problems stem from attempts to get him into his father’s seat, Reuters reports. Inheritance is not allowed under South Korean law and so it must transfer ownership through intermediaries and shares of other companies. Many of those actions and transactions are believed to be illegal. Lee is on trial for bribery, but in recent years many more top executives of the company have had to appear in court.
The announcement means that after Lee, the company will be in the hands of someone outside the family for the first time. That is a big change for the company. Until now, this has always been led by the founder and his direct descendants. It is unknown what the long-term consequences will be. The 51-year-old CEO will remain in office. He still faces a jail term.
Via dubious foundations and front men, the CEO is said to have paid a EUR 34 million bribe to former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. That would have happened in exchange for support with business deals. Lee is the grandson of the founder of Samsung. His father, Lee Kun Hee, is the official head of Samsung, but has been hospitalized since 2014. As a result, the now convicted CEO has actually been leading the company for six years. He previously received five years in prison and a year in prison, but now a new sentence may follow after a reconsideration by the Supreme Court in South Korea.
Lee also apologized for Samsung’s efforts to thwart unions within the company. He did this partly at the request of the company’s Supervisory Board, which had advised it.