South Korea's Samsung founding family will donate tens of thousands of artworks and gift hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research to help pay an estimated 12 trillion won ($10.8 billion) in taxes related to inheritance, following the death of chairman Lee Kun-Hee last year, according to the AP.
Lee's wife and 3 children will divide the tax payment into six installments over five years, while making the first payment this month, the AP reports, in a move that would help the family retain control of the Samsung businesses which range from electronics to construction and shipbuilding.
The donation of 23,000 works from Lee's personal collection would alleviate the payment as his family wouldn’t need to pay taxes on donated artworks, notes the AP. Lee’s father and Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull began the collection with Korean works; his son and daughter-in-law expanded the acquisitions to international artists.
The art collection could be worth up to $2.7 billion total, according to a Bloomberg source.
Two state-run museums, the National Museum of Korea and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, will receive antique Korean paintings, books and other cultural assets designated as national treasures, paintings of modern Korean artists, including Park Soo-keun and Lee Jung-seop, and the works of Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, Samsung said in a statement from the family.
In addition, works by Giacometti, Rothko and others will be managed by the family and Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Yonhap news agency reported.
The Lee family will also donate 1 trillion won ($900 million) to help fund infectious disease research and treatment for children with cancer and rare illnesses.
In 2008, Lee stepped down as chairman after being accused of tax evasion. Samsung then announced "plans for a large donation to society," reports Reuters. His son, Jay Y. Lee, is the largest shareholder of Samsung C&T. He is currently serving a 30-month jail sentence on bribery charges.