The youngest daughter of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Group, was killed in an automobile accident in New York on Nov. 18, officials said yesterday.
Lee Yoon-hyung, 26, the youngest of chairman Lee`s four children, was attending New York University for graduate studies.
A Buddhist funeral was held Monday with immediate family members on hand, including the chairman`s only son and heir-apparent Jay-yong. Officials said Lee, who has been in the United States since September, and his wife did not attend the service, however.
Officials declined to give details on the accident, though a vernacular internet news service said Yoon was driving around the outskirts of New York City when the accident happened.
Officials said they were not obliged to comment on Yoon-hyung, who had yet to get involved in the family business. "We also want to avoid unnecessary rumors that may circulate," an official at the group said.
Yoon-hyung`s death adds to a series of woes that has plagued Korea`s largest business group and its owners this year.
Under the command of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung is suspected of providing illegal campaign funds to presidential candidates during the 1997 election.
The 64-year-old tycoon has been reportedly staying in the United States since September to receive health checkups, according to the group. However, it is widely believed here that Lee, whose exact whereabouts are not known, has holed up in the United States to avoid facing up to the allegations of corruption and bribery and mounting criticism against the conglomerate.
A district court also convicted two of its executives in October for arranging an illegal transfer of the chairman`s wealth to his children. A prosecution probe is under way and Prosecutor-General Kim Jong-bin has hinted at possibly summoning members of the Lee family for questioning.
The nation`s response to Yoon-hyung`s death has been one of shock and sympathy.
Unlike her other siblings, Yoon-hyung has been more open to the outside.
She graduated from Ewha Woman`s University last year with a degree in French literature and is known to be a fan of car-racing like her father.
In 2003, she opened a personal Web page, where viewers could take a peak into the life of the daughter of Korea`s No. 1 business tycoon.
By Kim Min-hee
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