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Samsung Ordered to Pay Creditors 600 Billion Won and Interest

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s Seoul High Court today ordered 28 Samsung Group units to pay 600 billion won ($534 million) and interest to creditors of the group’s former automobile unit, which collapsed in 1999.

Son Cheol Woo, a judge in charge of media relations at the court, said the court is ordering that the units pay 600 billion won in damages for a breach of contract. He confirmed an earlier Yonhap News report on the verdict.

“We will decide whether to appeal the verdict after we receive it,” Rhee So-eui, a Samsung Group spokeswoman, said today. Choo Byeong Kwan, manager of the corporate claims recovery department at Seoul Guarantee Insurance Co., the largest stake holder among creditors, declined to comment.

In 1999, Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun Hee handed Woori Bank, Citibank Korea Inc. and other creditors shares in Samsung Life Insurance Co. in place of cash payments for the debt owed by Samsung Motors Inc.

The lenders sued Lee and 28 Samsung Group units in 2005, seeking their principal plus 19 percent interest per year, separate court documents show. The suit came after Seoul-based Samsung Life failed to go public in 2000, according to the documents. The lenders recouped the principal after the insurer conducted an initial public offering in May.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jungmin Hong in Seoul at jhong47@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will McSheehy at wmcsheehy@bloomberg.net

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