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Samsung pleads guilty to antitrust charges

[JURIST] Samsung [corporate website], the world's largest maker of computer memory chips, has pleaded guilty to criminal antitrust charges [indictment text] and was ordered pay a $300 million fine, the second largest fine in a criminal antitrust case, for conspiring to fix the price of its personal computer chips. The South Korean-based company was charged with artificially inflating the price of its semi-conductors which led to higher prices of some personal computers. Under the plea agreement [PDF text] seven people, including Samsung President Y.H. Park, are specifically excluded from the settlement and could still face civil and criminal charges. The Samsung settlement, first announced by the USDOJ [JURIST report] in October, is part of the DOJ's ongoing investigation into price-fixing in the dynamic random access memory industry. Prosecutors received complaints from PC makers, such as Dell [corporate website] and Apple [corporate website], when the price of memory chips began to climb in 2001, even though the tech industry was suffering its worst downturn in history. Hynix Semiconductor [corporate website] in April pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges [JURIST report] for the role it played in the price-fixing scheme. In December, 2004, four Infineon executives pleaded guilty to similar charges of price-fixing [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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