Tag: samsung

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.

EU fines three lithium-ion battery makers

lemon batteryThe European Commission has fined three Japanese makers of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries $176.2 million for their involvement in a price-fixing cartel from 2004 to 2007.

The Commission said that Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Sanyo agreed on temporary price increases and exchanged commercially sensitive information, such as forecasts or plans concerning bids for manufacturers of phones, laptops or power tools.

Sony received a fine of 29.8 million euros, Panasonic of 38.9 million euros and Sanyo 97.1 million euros. Samsung grassed the cartel up to the Commission.

The Commission said that all the companies had acknowledged their involvement in the cartel and had agreed to settle the case.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the fines sent an important signal to companies.

“If European consumers are affected by a cartel, the Commission will investigate it even if the anti-competitive contacts took place outside Europe,” she said.

 

Supremes back Samsung against Apple

supremesThe US Supreme Court backed Samsung in the great battle over the rounded rectangle smartphone.

It threw out an appeals court ruling that the South Korean company had to pay a $399 million penalty to its American rival for copying key iPhone designs.

The 8-0 ruling, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, held that a patent violator does not always have to fork over its entire profits from the sales of products using stolen designs, if the designs covered only certain components and not the whole thing.

The justices sent the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to determine how much Samsung must pay. But they did not provide a road map to juries and lower courts on how to navigate similar disputes in the future.

Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said in a statement that the U.S. company remained “optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right”.

Samsung said that the ruling was a “victory for Samsung and for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace”.

For those who came in in late a 2012 jury verdict favoured the tax-dodging cargo cult and hit Samsung initially with nearly $930 million in penalties, later cut by $382 million, for infringing Apple’s iPhone patents and mimicking its distinctive “rounded rectangle” appearance.

Samsung in December 2015 paid its Cupertino, California-based rival $548 million but Samsung took the matter to the Supreme Court, saying it should not have had to make $399 million of that payout for copying the patented designs of the iPhone’s rounded-corner front face, bezel and colourful grid of icons that represent programs and applications.

Apple wanted more cash because Samsung presented no evidence that the article of manufacture in this case was anything less than its entire smartphone as sold. Samsung, meanwhile, said that it did not have to present such evidence as it was bloody obvious.

Samsung argued that it should not have had to turn over all its profits, saying that design elements contributed only marginally to a complex product with thousands of patented features.

The Supremes agreed completely and said that the term “article of manufacture was broad enough to encompass both a product sold to a consumer as well as a component of that product”.

The justices nevertheless refused to devise a test for juries and lower courts to use to discern what a relevant article of manufacture is in a case, a task that could be fraught with difficulty when considering high-tech products.

Samsung Electronics considers split

Ned's_executionSouth Korea’s Samsung Electronics is considering doing an HP and splitting itself into two.

The plan was originally mooted by US activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

According to the Seoul Economic Daily the split give the heirs of the founding Lee family a much stronger hold on the global smartphone outfit. Elliott suggested the split in October to boost shareholder value.

Samsung’s board of directors will meet on Tuesday and respond to Elliott’s proposals. Samsung Electronics is not saying anything.

If it follows the House of Elliott plan, Samsung Electronics is to divide into a holding vehicle for ownership purposes and an operating company. It will pay a $26 billion special dividend, pledge to return at least 75 percent of free cash flow to investors and agree to appoint some independent directors.

The conglomerate’s reorganisation efforts have accelerated since Jay Lee took over the reins after his father and Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated following a May 2014 heart attack.

It has flogged off non-core assets and merged two affiliates in 2015 to consolidate stakes in key affiliates under a company controlled by Jay Lee and his two sisters.

“Even if Samsung Electronics does not comment on specifics such as the timing of a split … the firm will at least say it will implement ownership structure changes in a reasonable manner,” HI Investment said in a report.

Samsung and Panasonic involved in Napalling scandal

MalaysiaSamsung and Panasonic have launched investigations into allegations of abuse made by their Nepalese workers in Malaysia after a Guardian investigation raised multiple concerns about their treatment.

The pair said that they had been deceived about pay, had their passports confiscated and had been told that they must pay large fines if they wanted to return to Nepal before the end of their contract.

They were forced to work for up to 14 hours on their feet without adequate rest, and with restricted toilet breaks. They also had to pay recruitment fees of up to £1,000 to secure their jobs.

The Guardian spoke to 30 Nepalese migrants making products for Samsung and Panasonic. Some of those working for Samsung are employed directly by the company, but the majority are hired through a labour supply company. The workers assembling or making parts for Panasonic are employed by subcontracting companies.

Both Panasonic and Samsung forbid their suppliers from confiscating passports or charging migrant workers recruitment fees. Yet all the men interviewed by the Guardian claimed they paid up to more than $1,100 to recruitment agents in Nepal to secure their jobs in Malaysia. They all also claimed that their passports were confiscated on arrival in the country.  All this is illegal under Malaysian employment law.

Without their passports, the workers said they couldn’t freely leave their jobs and return home without paying fines equivalent to three or four months’ basic salary.

Both Samsung and Panasonic have said they are opening investigations into the conduct of their suppliers following the claims.

A spokesperson from Samsung said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate.

“We are currently conducting on-site investigations of labour supply companies we work with in Malaysia and the migrant employees hired by these companies. If any violations are uncovered, we will make immediate corrective actions and moving forward we will suspend our business with companies that are found to be in violation.”

In an emailed statement, Panasonic said, “Panasonic will conduct a full investigation into the claims made by the Guardian. We are taking these allegations very seriously and if, in fact, we discover that one of our suppliers has violated such laws or regulations, we will ensure and require them to take necessary corrective action immediately.

“We expect all of our suppliers to strictly comply with our Corporate Social Responsibility policy and declaration. These expectations are outlined in Panasonic’s contracted terms and conditions with each supplier. We do not tolerate breaches of these terms.”

The workers interviewed by the Guardian also complained about conditions inside the factories.

“The work is extremely difficult,” said one worker at a Samsung electronics plant making microwave ovens. “You get only 45 minutes in a 12-hour shift to eat, and seven minutes every two hours to drink water.”