The Korea Herald


Divorce battle reveals unknown aspects of Samsung family

By Kim Young-won

Published : June 17, 2016 - 09:21

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[THE INVESTOR] Packed with twists and turns, a divorce suit between former Samsung Electro-Mechanics executive Lim Woo-jae and his wife and Hotel Shilla president Lee Boo-jin unveiled unknown stories behind the family owners of Samsung Group, the largest conglomerate in Korea.

Lim, first son-in-law of Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee, said in an interview with Korean news publication Hankyoreh on June 16 that he had twice attempted suicide during the 17 years of his marriage due to pressure from the tycoon’s family.

“I did not speak a word of English at the time and had to prepare to go to the US to study. I felt so much pressure that I tried to kill myself. My wife and I cried together,” he said in the interview.

He added that after all that, his wife's attorneys are making false accusations at the court that I drink heavily and that I beat my wife. 


Wedding photo of Lee Boo-jin and Lim Woo-jae Wedding photo of Lee Boo-jin and Lim Woo-jae

Dispelling rumors that he first met his wife after he got into Samsung C&T, the construction business arm of the conglomerate, he said he started to work as a bodyguard for the Samsung chairman. Later, he worked for his wife.

The two eventually became a couple, but Lim said he did not want to marry Boo-jin because of the huge gap in their family backgrounds. But Chairman Lee soon asked Lim to marry his daughter, and Lim claimed he could not reject the proposal for fear it may appear disrespectful.

Soon after the story was published, a monk named Hyemun, claimed that the interview actually took place in a casual gathering between Lim and his friends and acquaintances including the reporter who wrote the article.
Lim is said to have told the stories off the record.

Lim's wife filed for divorce in February 2015, claiming that she had been exposed to domestic violence. A lower court ruled in favor of the Hotel Shilla president, but Lim appealed to a higher court. An attorney for Lee Boo-jin has said he would consider taking additional legal action against Lim.

Meanwhile, Lim’s attorney Nam Ki-choon resigned after the first news articlemade headlines.

By Kim Young-won (