Samsung in bribery probe

Samsung, the world's biggest memory chip maker, has reported a fall in 2007 profit as lower chip prices overshadowed the strong performance of the flat panel display and telecoms businesses.

The results were announced as a team of special investigators raided the headquarters of Samsung Group as part of an independent probe into bribery allegations. It followed a raid of the offices of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung's chairman, and the homes of some executives.

Net profit at Samsung Electronics fell 6 per cent to Won7,425bn last year although sales increased 7 per cent to Won63,176bn. Fourth-quarter profit also fell 6.6 per cent to Won2,212bn. But the results were better than analysts had predicted, and the company gave an optimistic outlook for this year, betting that memory chip prices would rebound in the second half.

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