On trial for bribery, Samsung boss lets lawyers do the talking

Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee arrives at a court in Seoul, South Korea, April 7, 2017. The prosecution is trying to determine whether the donations were given as bribes in exchange for government support for the company's bid to enter the lucrative duty-free business.

The company surprised analysts in January when it predicted a similar rise in earnings for the final quarter of 2016, even though operating profits for its smartphone division had plummeted by 98% in the third quarter alone as the Note 7 fiasco took hold.

Samsung surprised many when it announced its Galaxy Note phablet would return in 2017, following a widely publicised issue with Note 7 handsets exploding.

Profits are expected to have increased by a huge 48% and the company says the profit for Q1 2017 was likely $8.8 billion, or 9.9 trillion won.

Samsung Electronics Co. predicted Friday that its first-quarter operating profit for this year advanced 48.2 percent on-year, apparently helped by the robust performance of its chip business.

As we said before, consumers are fickle and once Samsung starts dangling shiny new phones before their eyes, all will be (kind of) forgotten.

While some companies have been struggling financially for quite a bit now, Samsung has been able to hold strong over the last couple of years. A few months later, its de facto heir and several top executives were charged with crimes linked to a political scandal that toppled the country's president. Expectations for the second-quarter profit are running high on the release of its new flagship smartphone Galaxy S8.

Lee was arrested in February over his alleged role in a corruption scandal.

Growing demand for more firepower from devices such as smart-phones and servers have also helped push up margins for Samsung and its rivals in recent quarters.

Targeting millennials who are constantly looking for powerful devices, Samsung India on Friday launched its latest smartphone Galaxy C7 Pro which will be sold exclusively on Amazon India from April 11.

The heir apparent of Samsung Group, the country's biggest family-controlled conglomerate, is accused of offering tens of millions of USA dollars in bribes to Choi, who was branded by prosecutors as a criminal accomplice to the impeached president.

The Seoul district court is expected to give its ruling in May.

  • Carolyn Briggs