SEOUL, April 22 (UPI) -- Lee Kun-hee, chairman of the South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group who was indicted last week on tax evasion and breach of trust charges, resigned Tuesday.
"Today, I decided to retire as chairman of Samsung," Lee told a news conference. "I would like to express my deepest apologies for causing great concerns to the public as a result of the special probe."
An independent counsel has been investigating Lee's giant television and mobile telephone company for three months on allegations of slush funds, bribery and shady intra-group transactions, the report said.
In the end, the counsel decided not to pursue the bribery charges against Lee but indicted him on lesser charges of tax evasion and breach of trust. Nine other Samsung executives were also indicted.
Samsung Group, which accounts for one-fifth of South Korea's exports, employs about 200,000 people.
Samsung officials said the group chairman's post would remain vacant for now and that Lee Soo-bin, chairman of Samsung Life Insurance, would serve as a representative of the group, Yonhap said.
Analysts said under Lee's leadership, Samsung Electronics, the company's flagship, became the world's largest maker of computer memory chips and liquid crystal display screens for flat-panel televisions.