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Samsung Boss Wins Sibling Inheritance Battle

(c) Sky News 2013

The boss of Samsung has won a bitter battle with his siblings over inheritance of South Korea's tech giant.

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-Hee won a court ruling on Friday against demands from his siblings to hand over billions of dollars in shares in various companies in the group.

The court allowed Mr Lee to retain all his shareholdings in the massive conglomerate.

Members of his family had accused him of hiding shares from them following the death of Mr Lee's father and Samsung founder Lee Byung-Chul.

If the court had found against Mr Lee, 71, it would have forced a restructuring of the complex web of shareholdings across the group's entities and weakened his hold on the giant conglomerate.

The high-stakes fight highlighted deep discord between sons of the founder, who denounced each other in public as the battle unfolded last year.

It brought longstanding family resentments into the open, highlighting the struggles for control that can happen at the heart of South Korea's chaebol - the name for family-owned conglomerates that dominate the country's economy.

The main claimants in court were Mr Lee's brother, Maeng-Hee, his sister Suk-Hee and the children of another brother.

Mr Lee called his older brother "greedy" while Mr Maeng-hee described Mr Lee as "acting childish".

They said that after their father's death in 1987, Mr Lee had taken over shares worth around £2.5bn in Samsung Electronics and Samsung Life Insurance that had been held under the names of other people, including Samsung executives.

Samsung is a leading South Korean firm and at the forefront of commercial rivalry against America's tech leader Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) .

The vast business empire spans many industries including finance, chemicals and consumer electronics.

It is the world's largest maker of smartphones but has been locked in patent wars around the world with Apple over various products.

Judges on two continents have even urged to warring tech firms to resolve their bitter battles.

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