Samsung predicting second-highest operating profits ever for Q1, 2017

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Lee faces five charges that could entail at least five years in prison if he is found guilty. (STAND UP) Lee was indicted at the end of February, and by law the district court must rule on the case by the end of May.

One of his lawyers, Song Woo-chul, presented about 70 slides in a presentation, contending the prosecutors' argument was unreal and "full of contradictions".

Samsung has been grabbing headlines over the past year for all the wrong reasons. "But there was no such need", Song said.

Samsung's earnings are believed to have been led by robust demand for semiconductors, especially used for new smartphones manufactured by rival companies.

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Samsung Electronics is headed for its best quarterly profit margin in three years, despite its deputy chairman going on trial over corruption allegations.

Samsung has been facing various challenges since a year ago, including the suspended production of the Galaxy Note 7 phablet and the arrest of the firm's de facto head Lee Jae-young in line with the corruption scandal that led to the ouster of South Korea's president.

The company on Thursday announced that its Q1 2017 operating profits were around $8.7 billion and total sales stood at $44.1 billion which is nearly 50 percent increase when compared to Q1 2016.

These results come before the launch of its new Galaxy S8 flagship phone (which looks set to be a hit) - it goes on sale on April 21st.

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According to a number of leaked images of the refurbished Note 7, Samsung is intending launch the smartphone with model number SM-N935 and run Android 7.0 Nougat.

Industry watchers, however, said Samsung's strong performance in chip sales is forecast to have helped improve its bottom line.

In this March 24, 2017 photo, a woman walks past a logo of Samsung Electronics in Seoul, South Korea.

Investors however have shrugged off the scandal, counting on share buybacks, steady growth from its memory and display divisions and a new premium smartphone.

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