By Matthew Henry
SYDNEY: Samsung’s global chairman, Lee Kun-hee, will step down from his role at the helm of the South Korean company following an indictment for alleged corruption and tax evasion.
Samsung group vice chairman Lee Hak Soo and president Kim In Joo will also resign by the end of June.
Considered South Korea’s most powerful businessman, Lee’s demise follows a three-month investigation into allegations by a former employee that Samsung maintained a multi-million dollar slush fund to bribe politicians and officials.
Although prosecutors cleared Lee and Samsung of the allegations, the 66-year old chairman today resigned and apologised in a nationally televised statement.
"I have decided to resign from the post of chairman," said Lee, quoted by the BBC.
"We, including myself, have caused troubles to the nation with the special probe.
"I deeply apologise for that, and I’ll take full responsibility for everything, both legally and morally."
Samsung will dismantle the strategic planning office, which was named in the indictment case as the coordinator of the alleged corrupt activities.
Lee’s son, Lee Jae-yong, has also resigned from his executive role and, according to Reuters, will travel to a new role abroad.