A dynasty ends as Samsung's embattled CEO steps down
Under indictment for tax evasion, Samsung CEO Lee Kun-hee said he is stepping down from his position, claiming full responsibility for the affair. Lee Hak-soo, Vice Chair also departed, as well as heir apparent Lee Jae-yong.
An investigation into the South Korean electronics giant's business practices began early this year with a January raid of Samsung offices. A former lawyer for the company tipped off the government to suspicious practices, including allegations of a slush fund for bribes related to protecting the transfer of power between Lee and his son.
Though this claim was dismissed during the extended 60 days of the three-month corruption probe for lack of evidence, special prosecutors did indict Lee for evading taxes totaling 112.8 billion won ($113 million).
In a statement today, Lee Kun-hee announced his resignation with profuse apologies ending with the statement, "I'll take full responsibility for everything, both legally and morally."
Samsung became a top player in consumer electronics under Lee Kun-hee, whose father, Lee Byung-Chui, founded the business in 1938. The family's third generation in the company Lee Jae-yong, was the next logical heir to the leadership position. In this scandal, however, he too resigned.
There is currently no word on who will assume the role of chairman of the company, or if that position will even be filled. Head of Samsung Life Insurance Lee Soo-bin (unrelated) was cited as the company's new external representative, though was not officially elevated to chairman at this time.