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Summer of Samsung: A Corruption Scandal, a Political Firestorm—and a Record Profit

A year after the exploding phones, Samsung is embroiled in the mess that brought down South Korea’s president. How is it still thriving?
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Photographer: PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: 731. PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY; AP PHOTO; REUTERS; SAMSUNG

“How long does a horse live?”

On a Friday in June, Jay Y. Lee, the de facto head of the Samsung conglomerate, is enduring another afternoon at the Central District Court in Seoul, listening to the prosecution quiz a witness about the finer points of equine health. Lee is on trial for bribery and embezzlement, part of a series of scandals that led in March to the ouster of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president.