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Samsung president pleads guilty in DRAM probe

Posted: 29 Dec 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM? memory devices? memory device? memory IC? memory chip?

The president of Samsung Semiconductor Inc. has agreed to plead guilty, serve 10 months in prison and pay a $250,000 fine regarding an ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation into DRAM price fixing in 2001 and 2002, according to a Reuters report.

Based on the report, the U.S. Justice Department maintains that Young Hwan Park participated in the conspiracy while he was a sales VP at Samsung. Park also has agreed to assist the Justice Department in its more-than-three-year old investigation of DRAM price-fixing conspiracy.

Park will be the 18th person charged by the Department in connection with the investigation. Most recently, D. James Sogas, former VP of memory for Japan memory vendor Elpida Memory Inc., agreed to plead guilty, serve seven months in prison and pay a $250,000 fine. The Justice Department has levied more than $731 million in fines in connection with the investigation against the individuals and four companies, including Samsung.

Park apparently will be the seventh Samsung employee to be implicated. In September, Thomas Quinn, a longtime executive from Samsung Semicondctor, agreed to plead guilty, serve eight months in jail and pay a fine of $250,000 for his role in the DRAM price-fixing conspiracy. Two other Samsung employees, and one from Hynix Semiconductor Inc., were indicted Oct. 18 for their alleged participation in the price-fixing conspiracy. Three Samsung executives from the parent company in South Korea agreed to plead guilty in March of this year.

A total of eight executives from Germany's Infineon Technologies AG and Hynix previously pleaded guilty and were each sentenced a $250,000 fine and jail terms ranging from five to eight months.

In 2003, a Micron Technology Inc. executive pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to serve six months of home detention.

Samsung pleaded guilty to federal price-fixing charges, agreeing to pay a $300 million fine, last October. Hynix pleaded guilty in April 2005 and agreed to a $185 million fine. Infineon agreed in September 2004 to pay a $160 million fine. In January of this year, Elpida agreed to plead guilty and pay an $84 million fine.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times




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