Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee Suffers Heart Attack

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Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee Suffers Heart Attack

 user 2014-05-13 at 12:58:24 pm Views: 471
  • #37669

    Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee Suffers Heart Attack

    FORTUNE — Lee Kun-hee, 72, chairman of the Samsung Group and the richest man in Korea, is reported to be in stable condition in Samsung Medical Center after resuscitation and surgery following an acute myocardial infarction.

    [UPDATE: As of Monday morning, Lee was still unconscious, receiving hypothermia treatment to minimize damage to the heart but breathing on his own. These medical details suggest a major heart attack. His children are reported to have rushed to the hospital to be at his side.]

    Lee is perhaps best known in the U.S. through his company's legal battles with Apple (AAPL), which sued Samsung twice in California for patent infringement and won both cases — the second only nine days ago.

    But Lee is a storied figure in South Korea, where he transformed Samsung from a cut-rate manufacturer of low quality knock-offs into one of the world's leading manufacturers of everything from ships to smartphones. Even as it sues Samsung for copying the iPhone, Apple is still using Samsung to make its semiconductors.

    Lee is also famous for his criminal record. A year ago, when Apple CEO Tim Cook was being grilled by a U.S. Senate subcommittee about Apple's tax strategies, we ran this brief rap sheet:

    In 1996, Chairman Lee was one of nine South Korean businessmen charged and convicted of bribing former President Roh Tae Woo. Lee said the money was a gift. Four of the businessmen were sent to prison. Lee received a suspended sentence and, later, a presidential pardon.

    In a second high-profile case in 2008, Lee was cleared of bribery charges but convicted of tax evasion and financial wrongdoing. He was fined 110 billion won (nearly $100 million) and given a 3-year suspended jail term. A few months later he got his second presidential pardon.
    In 2010 Samsung's former chief legal counsel published a book called Think Samsung that claimed Lee stole up to 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) from Samsung subsidiaries, destroyed evidence, and bribed government officials to ensure the smooth transfer of power to his son.

    "Change everything but your wife and your kids," Lee famously told his managers in 1993. Six years earlier he had taken over Samsung from his father, who founded it as a trading company in 1938. His son, Lee Jae Yong, is vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics and his daughter, Lee Boo Jin, is president of affiliate Hotel Shilla.