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Lee Kun-hee returns as chief of Samsung Electronics

Thomas Ricker, @trixxy
March 24, 2010
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It sure pays to be a white collar criminal in Korea. Especially when you're the son of the founder of Samsung. Lee Kun-hee, the disgraced former chairman of the Samsung Group, is returning to the chaebol as the head of Samsung Electronics -- Samsung's largest division and of primary interest to us gadget nerds. Remember, this is the man convicted of tax evasion only to be pardoned (twice!) by South Korean presidents with all jail time deferred. His latest pardon was issued so that he could help South Korea win a bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. In an effort to stave off criticism from a local population that is at once proud of Samsung's global success but concerned with its immense power over all things Korean, Mr. Lee played the fear card in announcing the reason for his return:
"[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."
Never mind that analysts are predicting the most profitable year ever for Samsung Electronics. So what'll it be South Korea: BubiBubi or pitchforks?

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