The Latest: Analyst doubts Samsung scandal will hurt phones

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the bribery case involving the heir to the Samsung empire (all times local):

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4:05 a.m. Saturday

A technology analyst doubts the imprisonment of Samsung's scandalized chief will knock the company off its perch as the world's leading maker of smartphones.

That's because key decisions about Samsung's smartphones are already being made by DJ Koh, president of the company's mobile division. Koh will remain in that role even as Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong serves a five-year sentence after being found guilty of trying to bribe South Korea's former president.

Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi believes a consumer backlash against Samsung's corruption is unlikely either because most people won't remember or care about it when they are shopping for smartphones.

The research firm IDC pegs Samsung's share of the worldwide smartphone market at 23 percent in the April-June quarter, well ahead of its nearest rival, Apple, at 12 percent.

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7:15 p.m. Friday

Civic groups said sentencing Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to prison for five years was a meaningful step toward justice in a country where business leaders often get lenient treatment for major white collar crime. But others thought the punishment was too light.

"I think the court should have accepted prosecutors' request for 12 years in prison," said Choi Sukun, a 37-year-old teacher in Seoul. "Given the gravity of the case, I think the ruling is too generous."

Business lobby groups, while refraining from openly criticizing the verdict, expressed concerns that Lee's absence from the helm of Samsung would take a toll on the South Korean economy. Samsung accounts for about one fifth of the nation's exports.

"Samsung Electronics represents South Korea as a global company so we are deeply worried about the fallout from his long absence," said a Korea Employers Federation spokesman. "It will be a disaster not just to an individual company but to the nation's economy."

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4:50 p.m.

A lawyer for Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong says the billionaire's legal team will appeal a five-year prison sentence for bribery and other crimes.

"As a lawyer I cannot possibly agree with the juridical decisions and acknowledged facts involved in the verdict," Samsung attorney Song Woo-cheo said outside the court. "We will appeal against the decision and I am sure that in the appellate trial all the charges will be dismissed."

A maximum of two appeals are possible in the case.

Lee's attempts to bribe South Korea's president contributed to her ouster and arrest earlier this year.

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4:10 p.m.

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong showed no particular reaction after his sentence of five years prison for bribery and other crimes was announced Friday.

Lee, whose attempts to bribe South Korea's president contributed to her ouster, took a small sip of water as he stood up to leave the courtroom.

Local TV broadcasters showed an unnamed Samsung lawyer speaking to reporters after the ruling who said Samsung will "appeal immediately." There was no immediate official statement from Samsung.

"All parts of the ruling are unacceptable," said the lawyer who was not identified on the TV footage. "In the appeal ruling, we are certain to have all charges proven not guilty."

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3:30 p.m.

A South Korean court has sentenced the billionaire Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison after finding him guilty of offering bribes to the country's former president and other crimes.

It said Lee was also guilty of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury.

The court said Lee hoped bribes for Park Geun-hye at the time she was president and her close friend Choi Soon-sil would secure government support for a merger that strengthened Lee's control over the Samsung empire and its flagship Samsung Electronics at a crucial time.

Park and Choi also have trials underway.

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3:20 p.m.

A South Korean court has found billionaire Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong guilty of bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury.

The court is reading out verdicts for several accused before announcing sentences.

Revelations of Lee's attempt to bribe South Korea's president to further his business ambitions fed public anger that led to the ouster of Park Geun-hye as the country's leader.

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1:30 p.m.

A court will rule Friday in a bribery case against the billionaire heir to the Samsung empire that fed public anger leading to the ouster of Park Geun-hye as South Korea's president.

Prosecutors have sought a 12-year prison term for the 49-year-old Lee Jae-yong

Lee, princeling of South Korea's richest family and its biggest company, is accused of offering $38 million in bribes to four entities controlled by a friend of Park in exchange for government help with a merger that strengthened Lee's control over Samsung at a crucial time.

Park, who was embroiled in a tumultuous series of scandals, was removed from office in March and is being tried separately. Her friend Choi Soon-sil also is on trial.

Lee has denied the allegations against him.