Tag: samsung

South Korea prosecutors expand charges against Samsung boss

South Korea’s special prosecutor’s office has expanded charges against Samsung boss Jay Lee to include hiding the proceeds of a criminal act.

Prosecutors are seeking a warrant to arrest Lee as part of the President Park Sang-jin bribery scandal.

Lee and the Samsung have denied doing anything wrong and President Park was already bribed when they got there.

A Seoul court said on Tuesday it would hold a hearing to decide on the prosecution’s request for warrants to arrest Jay Y. Lee and Samsung and other charges.

This is a second go for the prosecutors to arrest Lee as so far there had not been enough to have him arrested. South Korea is always reluctant to arrest the bosses of its super companies claiming that there was an economic impact from locking up CEO’s.

Jay’s old man was convicted and imprisoned for a while on similar charges until he was officially pardoned so that he could go back and make lots of money for Samsung and South Korea.  It is fairly likely that Jay will get an automatic get out of jail free card even if he is convicted.

Samsung makes record chip earnings

scrooge-mcduckSamsung Electronics saw record chip earnings which meant it could gloss over the Note 7 smartphone fiasco in the fourth quarter.

The outfit, which is involved in an influence-peddling scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye, said it expects profit growth in 2017, despite challenges arising from political uncertainty.

The political uncertainty appears to be whether the South Korean government will make Samsung executives accountantable for the scam. So far, the smart money is that it will probably not do that.

Samsung Electronics said in a statement that all this was creating an “uncertain business environment” although it did hint that there was also a changing political landscape abroad too.

All this poses a challenge to the execution of mid- to long-term business strategies, such as M&A and investment decisions and developing new growth engines.

Even so, it flagged higher earnings this year after a slow first quarter, when steeper marketing costs will eat into its bottom line as it tries to rebuild its reputation from the failure of its latest flagship phone.

The world’s top manufacturer of smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions is counting on the booming chip market to continue driving growth and give the mobile business breathing space to rebuild its premium lineup.

The company forecast “stable demand” in 2017 for memory chips, which hit an all-time earnings high in the October-December period.

Fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50 percent $7.93 billion which was its highest in over three years and matching its prior guidance. Earnings from the chips business soared 77 percent year-on-year. Revenue were flat.

In its mobile business, operating profit rose 12 percent in the fourth quarter as models such as the Galaxy S filled the void following the discontinuation of the fire-prone Note 7 in October.

Samsung claimed that defective batteries caused the Note 7 handsets to overheat and catch fire, and indicated that it may delay the launch of its next premium Galaxy S smartphone as it overhauls its product safety systems.

While the mobile business is struggling, the positive outlook for memory chips used in mobile devices and OLED televisions propelled Samsung’s shares to a series of record-highs this month.

Samsung blames the battery for Note 7 fiasco

samsung-galaxy-note-5Samsung Electronics has ruled out design flaws as the reason why its Note 7 caught fire and blamed the two battery makers.

The outfit has delayed its Galaxy S smartphone as it attempts to enhance product safety following an investigation into the cause of fires in its premium Note 7 devices.

The investigation has taken months and Samsung seems convinced that it was someone else’s problem despite smart money being on the fact the phone was too thin to take any battery safely.

Samsung initially blamed battery faults in batteries made by its subsidiary and swapped them for batteries made by another supplier which also caught fire.

What is curious then was Samsung’s obsession with getting the Note 7s off the market when customers were ignoring the recall. After all it would have been easier to issue them with a new battery and had done with it.

Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said procedures had been put in place to avoid a repeat of the fires, as investors look to the launch of the South Korean tech giant’s first premium handset since the Note 7, the Galaxy S8, some time this year.

“The lessons of this incident are deeply reflected in our culture and process,” Koh told reporters at a press briefing. “Samsung Electronics will be working hard to regain consumer trust.”

However Koh said the Galaxy S8 would not be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, which begins on February 27, the traditional forum for Samsung premium product launches. He did not comment on when the company planned to launch the new handset.

Again if the problem were the battery then this action would be unnecessary. Samsung and its suppliers would have worked out a way to track the fault. However, if it really were a design problem then Samsung would have have to rethink the new phone too.

Another odd part of the story is that Samsung said it accepted responsibility for asking battery suppliers to meet certain specifications and did not plan to take legal action against them.

Samsung boss goes free for now

 downloadA South Korean court dismissed an arrest warrant against the head of Samsung amid a graft scandal that has led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Jay Lee, 48, may still be charged as the special prosecutor’s office said it could pursue the case but at the moment he is not looking like he will have to go on an all porridge diet. The South Korean system means that once you have been arrested you are locked up until your trial.

The judge said in a statement on his ruling that an arrest was not necessary – for now.

“After reviewing the contents and the process of the investigation so far … it is difficult to acknowledge the necessity and substantiality of an arrest at the current stage,” he said.

If the special prosecutor gets its way Lee will face the same charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury, just will not try to lock him up before the trial.

The special prosecutor’s office said it would be continuing its probe but had not decided whether to make another arrest warrant request, and the setback would not change its plans to investigate other conglomerates.

Spokesman Lee Kyu-chul said the prosecution was unconvinced by the Samsung chief’s argument that he was a victim of coercion due to pressure from Park.

The spokesman also said Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung had been classified as a suspect on suspicion of bribery, but did not elaborate further. Two other Samsung officials, Choi’s deputy Chang Choong-ki and Samsung Electronics executive Park Sang-jin, were also under investigation.

The office has accused Lee of paying multi-million dollar bribes to Park’s confidant, Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the heart of the scandal, to win support from the National Pension Service for a controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung Group affiliates.

The merger helped cement Lee’s control over the smartphones-to-biopharmaceuticals business empire. He has denied it all.

Samsung said in an emailed statement that it appreciated “the fact that the merits of this case can now be determined without the need for detention”.

However, the case has highlighted the sharp division between how the system treats big business people and how it deals with the great unwashed.

The public is muttering that the law is not equal for all and if you run a big corporate you can get away with anything.

South Korea mulls giving Samsung boss a get out of jail free card

monopoly (1)While most countries would have no problem locking a businessman up if they think he has committed a crime, South Korea has to factor in the economic impact the arrest will cause.

South Korea’s special prosecutor said it will take into account the economic impact of whether to arrest Samsung boss Jay Lee in connection with an influence-peddling investigation involving the president.

The office also delayed its decision until later today on whether to seek the arrest of Lee, the third-generation leader of South Korea’s largest conglomerate, or chaebol, citing the gravity of the case.

Spokesman Lee Kyu-chul told reporters on Sunday investigators were deliberating all factors including the potential economic impact of the arrest of Jay Y. Lee.

Samsung appears to have provided $25.46 million to a business and foundations backed by President Park Geun-hye’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for the national pension fund’s support for a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates.

The Samsung chief denied bribery accusations during a parliamentary hearing in December.

Effectively if the coppers factor in the economic effect then Jay Lee could be given a get out of jail free card.

Park, the daughter of a military ruler, has denied wrongdoing, although she has said sorry for exercising poor judgment. Her friend, Choi, who is in detention and facing her own trial, has also denied wrongdoing.

The whole thing must feel particularly unpleasant for those who see the rule of law as sacrosanct. The chiefs of South Korean chaebol have over the years had prison sentences shortened or forgiven, or received pardons, with the economic impact of imprisonment cited as a factor.

Jay Lee’s dad Lee Kun-hee was handed a three-year suspended jail sentence in 2009 for tax evasion. He was later pardoned.

It seems that if you have a lot of money and run a business in South Korea you can do what you like.

Samsung boss grilled for 22 hours

20120610-stir-fry-grill-wok-21-thumb-625xauto-248338Samsung’s CEO was grilled for more than 22 hours by South Korean special prosecutor’s office over bribery suspicions in an influence-peddling scandal.

Jay Y. Lee left the special prosecution office without answering reporters questions and headed to a waiting car. The South Koreans are investigating whether Samsung provided $25.46 million to Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for the national pension fund’s support for a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates. Choi Soon-sil is a chum of President Park Geun-hye who is on the verge of being thrown out of office.

The special prosecutor’s office said it would decide over the weekend whether to seek a warrant to arrest 48-year-old Lee, the third-generation leader of South Korea’s largest conglomerate. There were no plans to bring him in for further questioning.

Lee denied some of the suspicions against him but had admitted his involvement to others, the special prosecutors’ office said,

Park was impeached by parliament in December, a decision that must be upheld or overturned by the Constitutional Court. Park, who has been stripped of her powers in the meantime, has denied wrongdoing.

Prosecutors were looking into whether Jay Y. Lee gave false testimony during a parliamentary hearing in early December, where the heads of nine of South Korea’s biggest conglomerate were subjected to an unprecedented 13-hour televised grilling by a panel investigating the presidential scandal.

Jay Y. Lee denied bribery accusations during that hearing, rejecting assertions from lawmakers that Samsung lobbied to get the fund to back the merger.

There is a certain amount of “show trial” as South Korea’s elite rarely get banged up over these cases. Normally they have prison sentences shortened or forgiven, or received pardons, with the economic impact of imprisonment cited as a factor.

Jay Y. Lee’s dad Lee Kun-hee was handed a three-year suspended jail sentence in 2009 for tax evasion. He was later pardoned.

Samsung CEO is a suspect in Park probe

downloadA South Korean special prosecutor’s office has said that Samsung supreme dalek Jay Lee is a suspect in an influence-peddling scandal that led to a parliamentary vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

Inspector Knacker of the Korean Yard is looking sideways at Samsung payments of $25 million for a business and foundations backed by Park’s friend, Choi Soon-sil. The question is if these were connected to a 2015 decision by the national pension service to back a controversial merger of two group affiliates.

Samsung has admitted that it made payments to two foundations as well as a consulting firm controlled by Choi. The prosecution this week summoned two senior Samsung Group officials for questioning, though they were listed as witnesses.

Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the special prosecution team, told a briefing the Samsung leader had been summoned for questioning  tomorrow over suspicions including bribery, but did not elaborate.

National Pension Service chief Moon Hyung-pyo was arrested in December after acknowledging he pressured the fund to approve the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries in 2015 while he was health minister.

Lee, 48, denied bribery accusations during a parliamentary hearing in December, rejecting assertions from lawmakers that Samsung lobbied to get the fund to vote in favour of the merger.

The special prosecutors’ office said it was considering whether Lee gave false testimony during the parliamentary hearing.

“Samsung is the one that has made the biggest contributions among conglomerates and it had an exclusive relationship with Choi Soon-sil, buying a horse,” Shin said, referring to the firm’s sponsorship of Choi’s daughter’s equestrian career.

 

South Korea mulls arresting Samsung execs

arrestThe political scandal threatening South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye is hotting up with coppers wondering if they should arrest two Samsung executives.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the prosecution would seek to arrest two Samsung executives.

However, the prosecutors’ office later said that pair, Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-ki, both of whom were summoned for questioning on Monday, were considered witnesses.

The two were questioned by investigators looking into whether the country’s top conglomerate paid bribes to get the country’s national pension fund to approve a controversial merger between two Samsung affiliates.

Park could become Korea’s first democratically elected leader to leave office early after parliament voted to impeach her in December over the corruption scandal. The decision must be approved or overturned by the Constitutional Court.

Samsung wants to sell 10 million S8 phones

SamsungSamsung has set an initial production target of 10 million Galaxy S8 smartphones.

Samsung is counting on the S8 to rejuvenate sales after it scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year in one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history. The phone will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone 8 which is being touted as everything the iPhone 7 should have been.

The newspaper said the world’s top smartphone maker would start production in March and planned to start selling them in April. Galaxy S7 phones went on sale in March last year.

Leaks about the S8 indicate the phone will be rather special, if expensive. For a start it will come with the latest AI features and Qualcomm’s new 10nm Snapdragon chip.

To push it, Samsung must prove that it does not feature the mistakes of the Note 7. So far no one knows for certain what those faults were, but it would appear to have been too thin for the larger battery.

Samsung has denied anything which has been written about the S8 but fortunately the Far Eastern companies leak like a Welsh tin bath.

 

Samsung will not buy its own batteries again

Samsung-Z1Samsung is in talks with LG Chem Ltd to make it one of its smartphone battery suppliers.

According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper Samsung is keen to diversify its supplier base after the failure of its Galaxy Note 7 which had batteries made by its own fair hand.

Samsung currently gets its Note batteries from  Samsung SDI and China’s Amperex Technology.

Chosun Ilbo quoted an industry official as saying that there was more than a 90 percent chance of a deal being struck and said that Samsung Electronics would likely begin procuring LG Chem batteries from the second half of next year.

The deal has yet to be officially announced.

Samsung Electronics announced the recall of 2.5 million fire-prone Note 7s in early September, a fault that it attributed to a defect in Samsung SDI battery. In October, it pulled the plug on the $882 device after replacement phones using batteries from China’s Amperex Technology also caught fire.  The fact that both batteries caught fire was widely seen as a poor design on the Note, however Samsung Electronics has refused to talk about that and just focused on the batteries..

LG Chem currently makes phone batteries for Apple, so if the Note 8 goes up in flames then Samsung will take down the iPhone 8 with it.