Chairman Lee offers public apology
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee made his first public apology concerning the ongoing family feud over inheritance.
``I feel sorry for the public as I expressed personal feelings about a personal matter. From this time on, I will pass legal issues to experts and I will focus on expanding Samsung,’’ Lee told reporters before his departure to Europe using his private jet, Wednesday.
Lee will look at Samsung’s affiliates in Europe, including those in Spain, for a month, according to Samsung officials. ``I need to look into Samsung’s businesses in Europe as I believe it is still the biggest concern for Samsung,’’ Lee said at Gimpo International Airport, on the outskirts of Seoul.
The chairman’s trip comes as the Samsung family feud is showing no signs of abating.
In a letter to the Seoul Central District Court, Tuesday, the chairman insisted that he sold all Samsung Electronics shares inherited from his father, the late Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull, and stressed he later bought 22.5 million shares in Samsung Electronics, saying he doesn’t need to give a portion of his father’s estate to his siblings.
Samsung declined to comment to talk about background to the rare apology, however, Samsung sources told The Korea Times that the chairman’s remarks were due to the ``bad image’’ for Samsung because of internal fights between billionaires.
The first hearing in the dispute has been set for May 30 at the Seoul Central District Court. The Samsung chairman, his brother and sister are expected to all miss the hearing.
In February, the chairman’s siblings, including his elder brother Lee Maeng-hee and the sister Lee Sook-hee, filed separate lawsuits to demand part of the late Samsung founder’s fortune that they argue was hidden under a third party name and passed on to the current Samsung chairman without prior notice.