Lee Boo-jin, CEO of Hotel Shilla and a member of the Samsung family, is making headlines with her decision to offload a massive chunk of her Samsung Electronics shares, totalling 5,247,140 units. This urgent fire sale is part of her ongoing strategy to raise the necessary funds to settle an enormous inheritance tax bill.

Lee Boo-jin / MCST
Lee Boo-jin / MCST

Sources within investment banking circles reported on the 9th that CEO Lee initiated demand forecasting through Hana Bank to facilitate the sale of her Samsung Electronics shares. The shares in question account for 0.09% of Samsung Electronics’ stake, which will shrink her stake from 0.89% down to 0.8% after the sale. The proposed selling price per share is set between 83,700 and 84,500 won, a maximum discount rate of 0.95% compared to the previous day’s closing price. The total value of this sale is a staggering 443.4 billion won, with Citigroup Global Markets Securities overseeing the transaction.

The Samsung heiress announced last month her intent to use the proceeds from the share disposal to repay loans, following a trust agreement with Hana Bank to sell off her Samsung Electronics shares. Earlier this year in January, she had also disposed of her stakes in Samsung Electronics, Samsung C&T, Samsung SDS, and Samsung Life Insurance via block deals, racking up a total of 558.6 billion won.

CEO Lee’s formidable wealth has not gone unnoticed. She was listed in the ‘New Billionaires 2024’ list by Forbes where she ranked 785th out of 2781 individuals, with an impressive net worth of 4 billion dollars.

According to the National Assembly Budget Office, among the 38 OECD member countries, 24 impose inheritance taxes. South Korea’s top rate is the second highest in the world, following Japan, at a hefty 50%. When the largest shareholder inherits a firm, the inheritance tax rate can even climb to a staggering 60%, four times the OECD average of 15%.

Lee Boo-jin isn’t alone in her tax woes. The Samsung family, including Hong Ra-hee, former director of Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, and Lee Seo-hyun, president of Samsung C&T, have been selling off their primary affiliate shares annually since 2021. Their aim? To pay a whopping 12 trillion won inheritance tax imposed on the family fortune they inherited from the late Lee Kun-hee, former Samsung chairman.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong has also been reportedly managing his inheritance tax through personal loans received in 2021 and annual dividends amounting to 360 billion won.