The elder brother of South Korea's richest man, Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-Hee, lost his court appeal yesterday for a US$850 million share of his sibling's inherited wealth.
The Seoul High Court upheld a lower court ruling allowing Lee to retain all his shareholdings in the giant conglomerate that members of his family had accused him of hiding from them after the death in 1987 of his father and Samsung founder Lee Byung-Chul.
Lee's brother Lee Maeng-Hee had appealed to the High Court over his claim for a 940 billion won (HK$6.8 billion) share of the inheritance as part of a collective family claim of 4.1 trillion won. While the court found that some shares claimed by Lee Maeng-Hee were bequeathed to him, it noted that the 10-year statute of limitations on inheritance claims had expired.
He is now deciding whether to appeal to the supreme court.
In their initial suit, Lee Maeng-Hee and other relatives claimed that after Lee Byung-Chul's death, Lee Kun-Hee had hidden shares and assets held in other people's names.
Under the stewardship of Lee Kun-Hee, Samsung has become the world's top chipmaker and mobile phone producer. His net worth is estimated by Forbes magazine at US$10.8 billion.
Lee Byung-Chul had three sons and five daughters.