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December 1, 2005

Samsung pleads guilty to memory price fixing

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has pleaded guilty to a wide-reaching memory fix-pricing charge, in which it has been ordered by a US federal judge to pay $300m, the second-largest fine in a criminal antitrust case.

By CBR Staff Writer

The US government had spent three years investigating disparate price movements in the DRAM, or dynamic random access memory, market between early-1999 and mid-2002.

It found South Korea-based Samsung and other memory makers fixed prices of chips, which drove up the price of PCs and other computing devices.

The plea deal, which involves Samsung paying $300m (plus interest) during the next five years, does not protect the company from also being sued by those affected by the higher prices, including chip makers, computer OEMs and end users.

Federal prosecutors named Apple Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM as victims of the conspiracy.

Seven Samsung employees, including its semiconductor president Y.H. Park, may also face prosecution for their involvement in the scheme.

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