Business News: Faced with an $11 billion tax bill, Samsung’s heirs are donating a huge art collection..
Samsung’s founding family will donate tens of thousands of rare works of art, including Picasso and Dalis, to help them pay a massive inheritance tax following the death of company president Lee Kun-Hee last year. They will also give hundreds of millions of dollars to medical projects and research in an apparent attempt to improve their public image as they move forward with a multi-year plan to inherit both the wealth and corporate power of South Korea’s richest businessman.
“It is our civic duty and responsibility to pay all taxes,” the Lee family said in a statement. They had until Friday to report the size of the inheritance and payment plans to the tax authorities. Raising money for tax payments is critical for the Lee family to extend their control over Samsung’s business empire, which extends from semiconductors, smartphones and TVs for construction, shipbuilding and insurance. Some analysts say the trial could cause a shock to the whole group.
The family plans to donate 23,000 works of art from Lee’s personal collection in two state museums. They include ancient Korean paintings, books, and other cultural assets designated as national treasures, and modern Korean painters like Park Soo-keun and Lee Jung-seop. There are also works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, Samsung said.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art stated that the 1,488 pieces received from the Lee family was his largest private donation. Works included Lee Jung-seop’s “Bull”, Dali’s “Family of Marsupial Centaurs”, Monet’s “Water Lily Pond (Le Bassin Aux Nympheas)” and Chagall’s “Red Bouquet With Lovers” (Les Amoureux Aux Bouquets Rouges) . “The National Museum of Korea will receive approximately 21,000 pieces from Lee’s collection of Korean traditional art, including paintings, pottery and sculptures.
About 300 billion ($ 267 million) of the funds will go into a ten-year program with Seoul National University Children’s Hospital to help families pay for the treatment of children with cancer and rare diseases and support clinical trials and drug development. “Members of the (Lee family) hope to honor the life of the late President Lee and his commitment to corporate citizenship and co-prosperity by giving back to communities,” Samsung said.