In a move that’s been expected for some weeks, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee resigned his position at South Korea’s largest corporation following an indictment last week on fraud and tax evasion charges. Also stepping down are Samsung vice chairman Lee Hak-soo also announced his resignation, along with that of the chairman’s son, Lee Jae-yong, also a Samsung executive.
"We, including myself, have caused troubles to the nation with the special probe," Lee Kun-hee said at a news conference announcing the resignations today in Seoul. "I deeply apologize for that, and I’ll take full responsibility for everything, both legally and morally."
Samsung did not announce immediate plans to fill the chairman position at the company. Instead, Lee Hak-soo said the current chairman of Samsung Life Insurance, Lee Soo-bin, would represent the company.
Special prosecutors indicted chairman Lee last week on evading over $110 billion in taxes through a subsidized sale of bonds in Everland (Samsung’s de facto holding company) to his son, Lee Jae-yong, effectively giving him control of Samsung. The three-month investigation was launched by accusations from a former Samsung lawyer, Kim Yong-Chul, that the company has raised a slush fund exclusively for bribing South Korean politicians and government officials; however, the bribery accusation was dismissed. All told, seven additional Samsung executives were named in the indictment.