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LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo Faces Historic Inheritance Dispute

LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo is facing the first inheritance dispute in the company’s history, involving a civil lawsuit with his mother and sisters over an 11.28 percent stake.

LG Group’s 11.28 percent stake is at stake in a civil lawsuit between Chairman Koo Kwang-mo and his family, who contest the distribution, claiming coercion and false promises.

The dispute over the inheritance of LG Group’s 11.28 percent stake is based on conflicting interpretations of the late Chairman’s intentions. The case raises questions about consent form authenticity, discussions, and transparency, impacting the Koo family’s dynamics.

LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo is facing the first inheritance dispute in LG’s history since its founding in 1947. For 75 years, the company had not experienced any property disputes, including control of the business, but it has become embroiled in litigation for the first time in this case.

According to industry sources on Nov. 12, Chairman Koo is embroiled in a civil lawsuit with his mother, Kim Young-sik, and his younger sisters, Koo Yeon-kyung and Koo Yeon-soo, over an 11.28 percent stake he inherited from the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

On the Nov. 16, LG President Ha Beom-jong is scheduled to appear as a witness in the second round of hearings. Chairman Ha played a pivotal role as the head of the financial management team at LG Corporation, the holding company of the group, both before and after the passing of former Chairman Koo Bon-moo. He oversaw the management of the family’s assets and inheritance division discussions

In the previous first trial held on Oct. 5, President Ha appeared as a witness and testified that the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo had expressed his desire for his son, Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, to inherit all of his business assets.

On that day, Chairman Koo’s side submitted evidence, including a consent form signed by the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo’s wife and the plaintiff in this lawsuit, Kim Young-sik. It also disclosed the details of the three-stage inheritance property division agreement process.

The consent form that was made public on that day included a statement that read, “I, Kim Young-sik, in accordance with the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo’s wishes, representing the Hanam-dong family, hereby consent to the inheritance of assets related to the LG Corporation shares and the group’s management rights to Koo Kwang-mo.” This statement was accompanied by Kim’s signature.

President Ha stated, “The deceased called me two days before his surgery on April 1, 2017, and expressed his intention to pass on the future management rights to Koo Kwang-mo.” He further added, “I documented this and visited him the next day to obtain his handwritten signature.”

On the other hand, the three women, the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo’s wife and daughters, argue that they were deceived by the false promise of inheriting all LG shares from Chairman Koo and were coerced into drafting the agreement.

Chairman Koo Kwang-mo inherited 8.76 percent of the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo’s 11.28 percent stake. The three women inherited a portion of LG Corporation shares, with Koo Yeon-kyung receiving 2.01 percent and Koo Yeon-soo receiving 0.51 percent. Additionally, they inherited total property valued at 500 billion won (US$378.64 million), which included various financial investment products, real estate, and artwork owned by the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

His mother and sisters are advocating for a redistribution of the shares in accordance with legal proportions, while Chairman Koo Kwang-mo maintains that the inheritance was done legally in accordance with the late Chairman’s intentions.

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