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Sixth Samsung executive pleads guilty to computer memory price-fixing

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Thursday that a Korean executive at Samsung Electronics [corporate website] has pleaded guilty [press release] to a large conspiracy that fixed the price of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), affecting the cost of personal computers worldwide. Il Ung Kim, former VP of Marketing for Samsung's Memory Division, will pay a $250,000 fine and serve 14 months in a US prison under the terms of the plea agreement. Kim is the sixth Samsung executive to plead guilty in the criminal anti-trust investigation that brought charges against a total of 18 individuals and four companies. Kim was indicted [text] in October, along with another Korean Samsung executive, and a US executive for Hynix Semiconductor [corporate website]. His 14-month sentence is the longest ever given to a foreign defendant charged with price fixing. Other individuals who have pleaded guilty to manipulating the DRAM market received similar fines [JURIST report], but approximately half the jail time.

Criminal penalties against the DRAM cartel have so far reached over $730 million. Samsung paid $300 million [JURIST report] under the terms of its settlement in December of 2005. Hynix settled for $185 million [JURIST report] in April of that year. Of the 18 individuals charged with price fixing, 15 have been convicted, with trials against the remainder pending. In February of this year, Samsung settled a civil suit [JURIST report] for $90 million. AP has more.

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