Bowing Out

Ahn Young-Joon / AP

Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee bows during a press conference

Tycoons in South Korea have always been more than just rich people. Inside their sprawling conglomerates, they are revered like demigods, their every utterance heeded as law. In the country at large, these titans of industry, though often distrusted, are lauded as the men who transformed an impoverished backwater into a modern nation with the world's 13th largest economy. This week, however, one of the most powerful fell from his pedestal. Lee Kun Hee, 66, the chairman of Samsung Electronics, shocked South Korea by resigning after being indicted for tax evasion and breach of...

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