South Korea’s richest man dies at 78: Here's how much Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee was worth

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Credited with growing his father's business into a global conglomerate, Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee died at a hospital in South Korean capital Seoul on Sunday at the age of 78.

File photo of Samsung chairman late Lee Kun-hee (left)

File photo of Samsung chairman late Lee Kun-hee (left) (Photo Credits: Associated Press)

South Korea's richest person and chairman of Samsung Electronics Co, Lee Kun-hee died on Sunday at the age of 78. The country's wealthiest stock owner, Lee helped grow his father Lee Byung-chull's noodle trading business into a conglomerate with assets worth USD 375 billion as of May 2020.

According to Forbes, Lee Kun-hee leaves behind a net worth of USD 20.9 billion to his son Lee Jae-yong and daughters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun.

Lee Kun-hee had stakes in four listed Samsung companies valued at USD 16.1 billion (18.2 trillion won) as of Friday's closing price. These include Samsung Life Insurance, Samsung C&T, and Samsung SDS. As per a report by news agency Reuters, Lee owned 4.18 per cent common shares and 0.08 of preferred shares of Samsung Electronics worth about 15 trillion won.

Rules prescribed by South Korea state that a 20 per cent premium is added to the appraisal value of one's holdings before applying the country's 50 per cent inheritance tax rate on listed stocks. This premium is based on the four-month average of the shares' closing market price before and after the death of the said individual.

A calculation by Reuters puts Lee Kun-hee's inheritance tax for listed stocks at around 10.6 trillion won.

File photo of Lee Kun-hee's de facto heir Lee Jae-yong (Photo Credits: AP)

Credited with transforming Samsung into a global tech giant, Lee Kun-hee was also the owner of two of the most expensive individual homes in all of South Korea. News agency Yonhap estimates that his houses in central Seoul are valued at 40.9 billion won and 34.2 billion won respectively.

Lee's widow Hong Ra-hee is also a billionaire with a net worth of USD 1.8 billion, according to Forbes.

His de facto heir, Lee Jae-yong holds stakes worth 7.2 trillion won in six of Samsung Group's listed affiliates. Forbes estimates Lee Jae-yong's worth at USD 6.9 billion.

Similarly, Lee Kun-hee's daughters- Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun, are worth USD 1.6 billion and USD 1.5 billion respectively. While Lee Boo-jin is the president and chief executive of Hotel Shilla, her sister Lee Seo-hyun oversees the Samsung Welfare Foundation.

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