*NEWS*SAMSUNG EXECS GO TO JAIL

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*NEWS*SAMSUNG EXECS GO TO JAIL

 user 2006-03-28 at 11:16:00 am Views: 54
  • #14919

    Samsung execs go to jail
    Three
    executives from Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest manufacturer
    of DRAM (dynamic random access memory), have agreed to plead guilty and
    serve jail time for participating in a worldwide conspiracy to fix DRAM
    prices, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.

    Sun
    Woo Lee, Samsung’s senior manager of DRAM sales, agreed to a sentence
    of eight months in US prison. Yeongho Kang, associate director of DRAM
    marketing for Samsung’s US subsidiary, and Young Woo Lee, sales
    director for Samsung’s German subsidiary, both agreed to serve seven
    months, the DOJ said.
    The three also agreed to each pay a $250,000
    fine and cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing DRAM investigation. The South
    Korean executives each face one felony count for violating the US
    Sherman Antitrust Act.
    “True deterrence occurs when guilty
    individuals serve jail terms, and not just when corporations pay
    criminal fines,” US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a
    statement. “These pleas should send a clear message that we will hold
    accountable all conspirators, whether domestic or foreign, that harm
    American consumers through their illegal conduct.”
    The pleas and
    sentences are subject to the approval by the US District Court in San
    Francisco. The Samsung three will follow four Infineon execs who were
    jailed in December 2004 for taking part in the same price-fixing
    conspiracy.
    DRAM is the most commonly used semiconductor memory
    product, and is used in PCs, laptops, servers, printers, hard disk
    drives, mobile phones, digital cameras, game consoles, and other
    devices. There were about $7.7 billion in DRAM sales in the U.S. in
    2004, the DOJ said.
    Between April 1999 and June 2002, the three
    Samsung executives conspired with employees of other DRAM makers to fix
    prices, according to the charges filed Wednesday. The conspiracy
    affected sales to several US computer makers, including Dell,
    Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Apple.
    Including Wednesday’s charges, the
    DOJ has charged four companies and 12 individuals and assessed fines of
    more than $731 million in a wide-ranging DRAM price-fixing
    investigation. This adds up to the second largest total ever collected
    by the DOJ in a single price-fixing investigation.
    The first charges
    in the investigation came in December 2003, and earlier this month,
    four executives from Hynix Semiconductor Inc. agreed to plead guilty.
    Samsung
    was ordered in November 2005 to pay a $300 million criminal fine.
    Hynix, the world’s second-largest DRAM manufacturer, was ordered to pay
    $185 million in May 2005. Elpida Memory of Japan agreed in January to
    pay $84 million. And Infineon of Germany agreed in October 2004 to pay
    $160 million.
    Samsung itself was fined $300 million in December 2005, and Hynix was fined $185 million in April last year.