Seoul: Former Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee, who last month was granted a pardon from a conviction for tax evasion, said he would not return to a management role any time soon.
Lee, who appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where Samsung Electronics unveiled its latest TVs and other gadgets, also said Samsung did not fear, but should be mindful of, Japanese competition.
Samsung and its home rival LG Electronics Co. have taken away market share from Japan’s Sony Corp. and others to post a robust recovery from the global downturn.
“It’s still far away,” Lee was quoted in media pool reports as telling reporters asking when he could return to running Samsung Group. His comments were confirmed by a company spokesman.
Lee, one of South Korea’s most influential businessmen, stepped down from his chairmanship in 2008 after being embroiled in a scandal where executives in Samsung Group were indicted on suspicion of brokering a sweetheart deal to give his children a greater ownership of a de facto holding firm of the group.
He was cleared of the charge, but handed a suspended three-year jail term for tax evasion.
South Korea pardoned him in late December to help its bid to land the Winter Olympics, raising speculations that Lee could also return to lead the country’s top conglomerate.