LG sees best first quarter for almost eight years

At an event that's been dubbed the "trial of the century", prosecutors spent an hour laying out the charges against Lee, South Korea's highest profile business leader.

According to Samsung, operating profit for the first three months of this year is estimated at 9.9 trillion won ($8.7 billion), up 48 percent from a year earlier.

Samsung, the world's largest maker of smartphones and display panels, has unveiled the Galaxy S8 smartphone last week, which is set to go on sales later this month.

Revenue for the quarter likely rose 9.7 percent to 14.7 trillion won, the firm said. An issue that caused Samsung's own Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee to be arrested and he is now facing charges for bribing their former president Park Geun-hye.

Samsung has denied any wrongdoing and Lee, who was arrested in February, has pleaded not guilty.

Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye (C) leaves the prosecutors' office in a vehicle as she is transferred to a detention center, in Seoul, South Korea, March 31, 2017. Then, earlier this year the company's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was arrested by South Korean authorities and charged over his involvement in the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye.

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Samsung has been going through a rough patch due to Galaxy Note 7's debacle and massive corruption scandal that was unearthed in its homeland. Lee, who was arrested in February, has been charged with paying almost $40 million to the now-impeached president's close friend Choi Soon-Sil, allegedly as bribes to secure policy favours.

Lee's case was a typical example of the "unhealthy relations between politicians and businessmen", said Special Prosecutor Park Young-soo.

Samsung will deliver the official results later this month.

Samsung Electronics Co. posted higher-than-projected profit on strong sales of memory chips and displays, showing that its core businesses remain stable even after losing its global lead in smartphones to Apple Inc.

The forecast will come as welcome news to the South Korean giant after a torrid period in which it had to ditch its flagship Galaxy Note 7 handset after several battery fires.

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

  • Douglas Reid