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S. Korea ordered to pay $32 mn in lawsuit over merger of 2 Samsung affiliates

Seoul, April 11 2024-

An international tribunal ordered South Korea on Thursday to pay 43.8 billion won ($32 million) in compensation to US-based hedge fund Mason Capital in an investor-state lawsuit the company filed over a controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, the Justice Ministry said.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Netherlands issued the decision nearly six years after the New York-based fund brought the investor-state dispute settlement process against the South Korean government, demanding $200 million in compensation.

The ordered compensation amount, which included interest on delayed payments, represents about 16 per cent of what Mason demanded, reports Yonhap news agency.

The case dates back to the 2015 merger of two Samsung Group affiliates, Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, where a ratio of 0.35 Cheil shares was offered for every one Samsung CT&T share.

Mason, which held a 2.18 per cent share in Samsung C&T at that time, objected to the merger, saying it undervalued Samsung C&T shares, and has since filed the suit in 2018, claiming the South Korean government had unfairly intervened in favour of the merger.

The merger, seen as aimed at tightening Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong’s control over the family-controlled group, had been the centre of a massive corruption scandal that led to the ousting and the conviction of former President Park Geun-hye, as well as the imprisonment of Lee.

Mason accused the Park administration of exerting excessive influence in the state-run National Pension Service, a major shareholder in Samsung C&T, which was seen as a swing vote at that time, casting its vote in favour of the merger. (Agency)

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