Following the death of chairman Lee Kun-Hee last year, Samsung’s founding family will devote tens of thousands of rare artworks, including Picassos and Dalis, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research to help them pay a huge inheritance tax.
According to Samsung, the Lee family, which includes his wife and three children, expects to pay more than 12 trillion won (A$14 billion) in inheritance taxes.
This will be South Korea’s largest-ever amount, more than three times the country’s overall estate tax revenue from the previous year.
The family intends to split the payment into six payments over the next five years, with the first installment due this month.
The Lee family needs to raise money for the tax payment in order to expand their influence over Samsung’s business empire, which includes everything from semiconductors to smartphones and TVs to manufacturing, shipbuilding, and insurance.
According to some analysts, the process may result in a reorganization of the business.
Giving away the late chairman’s vast collection of masterpieces will help smooth the payment process because donated artworks are tax-free.
Lee’s personal collection will be donated to two state-run museums, according to the family.
Old Korean paintings, books, and other cultural artifacts designated as national treasures are among them, as are paintings by contemporary Korean artists such as Park Soo-keun and Lee Jung-seop, as well as works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali, according to Samsung.
In addition, the Lee family will donate 1 trillion won (A$1.1 billion) to support infectious disease research and care for children with cancer and rare illnesses.
Lee was credited with turning Samsung Electronics from a small television manufacturer to a global giant of semiconductors and consumer electronics before his death in October.
However, his presidency was marred by corruption convictions, which exposed the country’s historically shady links between family-owned businesses and politicians. Following a heart attack in 2014, he spent years in the hospital.
Lee Jae-yong, Lee’s only son and corporate successor, is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for his role in a 2016 corruption scandal that sparked widespread protests and led to the ouster of South Korea’s then-president.