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Lee family control over Samsung faces fresh risks

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. shares worth about 15 trillion South Korean won could be sold as the South Korean ruling party hopes to ban insurance firms from owning more than 3% of affiliates, Bloomberg News reported.

A bill on that was first introduced in 2014 but faced opposition from South Korea's lawmakers on fears of its potential impact on markets. Things, however, may change now as President Moon Jae-in's party won a landslide victory in local elections last month.

The move would force Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to sell its stock in the South Korean electronics maker. The insurer currently owns 23 trillion won worth of Samsung Electronics shares, making it the company's largest stakeholder after the National Pension Service. Samsung Life Insurance is a major component in Lee Kun-hee family's control over Samsung Electronics.

The measure would value holdings at their current price instead of the acquisition cost, putting the insurer's stake over the regulatory limit, according to Bloomberg.

A bill was first introduced in 2014 but has faced opposition from South Korea's lawmakers on fears of its potential impact on markets.

Five-term ruling party lawmaker Lee Jong-kul said Samsung Life has to be untangled from the group so that its insured members could be protected and the control that chaebol families exert over business empires could be restricted.

As of July 5, US$1 was equivalent to 1,118.53 South Korean won.