Koo Kwang-mo, left, in Pyongyang, North Korea, 2018. Source: EPA-EFE/Pyongyang Press Corps/Pool
LG Chairman Koo Kwang-mo would be a billionaire in most countries.
The 40-year took the helm of LG Group, one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates, after his father died in May. He became the largest shareholder of LG Corp., the holding company of the global tech and chemical powerhouse that produces myriad products, including vacuum cleaners and smartphones, when he inherited his father’s 8.8 percent stake, according to a Nov. 2 filing. Koo now owns 15 percent of the company, valued at $1.55 billion.
But this is Korea, where the inheritance tax is among the world’s highest. And, in what is perhaps a rare occurrence for the nation’s moneyed elite, the family plans to pay the bill in full.
Death taxes can be as high as 50 percent in South Korea when inheritance exceeds 3 billion won ($2.7 million). An extra 20 percent tax follows when passing down shares owned by the largest stakeholder.
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$630 Million Death Tax Keeps LG Heir Out of Billionaires’ Club