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Lee Kun-hee regains Samsung Electronics control

Scandal is nothing new in any segment of the business world. The tech industry has more than its share of scandals, patent lawsuits, and seemingly never ending legal proceedings.

In 2008, Samsung Electronics was embroiled in a scandal when Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee was forced to step down from his post at the company after being indicted for tax evasion. He was indicted for trying to hide about $113 million in an effort to avoid paying taxes on the money. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lee attempted to hide the money in various corporate accounts under the name of other employees. Hiding the money reportedly had to do with an effort that Lee undertook in the mid-1990's in an effort to retain enough shares of Samsung stock to give his son control over the family-founded empire.

Samsung has its fingers in much more than just electronics. The Samsung Group also has arms that work in segments as varied as shipbuilding, construction, and financial services. Lee had controlled all aspects of the Samsung empire until his resignation. At the time Lee stepped down, a council of presidents was formed to manage the company.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee in December of 2009 in hopes that Lee could return to the International Olympic Committee and his efforts to help bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to South Korea. In February the group of presidents now running Samsung's vast businesses had met to talk about inviting Lee back to Samsung in an official capacity. The council of presidents sent Lee a letter on February 24 inviting him back to become the chairman of Samsung Electronics. The WSJ reports that there is no clear indication of why Lee was only invited back to Samsung Electronics instead of his previous perch as Samsung Group chairman.

Lee said in a statement issued by Samsung Electronics, "[The] best companies in the world are collapsing. We don't know what is going to happen to Samsung too. In the coming 10 years, businesses and products that represent Samsung today will mostly disappear."

2010 is expected to be a big year for Samsung with some predicting record revenue for the electronics giant of more than the $10 billion the firm racked up in 2004. Samsung is also predicted to pass HP as the largest shipper of high-tech equipment by revenue in the entire world in 2010.

Samsung is betting big on 3D TV sales this year and leading into 2011 as the new technology drives users to upgrade existing sets. Samsung is the market leader on the global scale in TVs and holds the second spot in mobile phones behind Nokia. There is no word on the other two Samsung executives returning to the company that resigned at the same time as Lee. One of the executives in the scandal was Lee's son.





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