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Family takes feud to court

By Attracta Mooney

Just days after it appeared the Bettencourt family had finally drawn a line under its family feud, another family squabble has made headlines.

This time, South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group is in the limelight, after the elder second-generation brother sued his younger sibling.

Lee Maeng-hee, 80, sued Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, 70, for the return of a number of shares in the family business, which was started by their father Lee Byung-chull.

The shares, including stakes in Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics, were left by their father after he died in 1987.

Lee Maeng-hee claims his brother took away their father’s shares, which had been kept under third-party names, in 2008 without informing the rest of the family.

The elder Lee is seeking 8.24 million Samsung Life shares and 100 million won (€67,000) in cash.

Lee Kun-hee previously stepped down as chairman of the Samsung Group in 2008, after being charged with tax evasion and breach of trust, with authorities claiming he hid billions in borrowed-name accounts. He was also accused of overlooking a father-to-son wealth transfer to heir apparent Lee Jae-yong.

Although he was convicted of tax-evasion charges, he was later given a presidential pardon and returned to the Seoul-based company’s best-known arm, Samsung Electronics, in 2010.

The family-controlled business is one of South Korea’s biggest chaebols.