Samsung VP Pleads Guilty To Memory Price Fixing

Samsungis senior vice president of marketing for the memory devision, Il Ung Kim, plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy to fix memory chip prices paid by computer manufacturers like Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard. The U.S. Department of Justice announced the plea deal on Thursday, according to Computerworld.

Mr. Kim was accused of conspiring to artificially set the price of DRAM memory chips between April 2001 and June 2002. That conspiracy caused computer manufacturers to pay artificially high prices for the memory chips used in their products.

As part of his plea deal, Mr. Kim agreed to pay a US$250,000 fine and spend 14 months in jail. The deal is awaiting final approval by a judge at a hearing scheduled for April 25.

In February 2007, Samsung settled a separate suit over DRAM price fixing. In that case, Samsung agreed to pay $90 million to be divided between consumers and states.

At the time Samsung spokesperson Chris Goodhart said in a statement "[This settlement] puts the DRAM antitrust matter behind us. Samsung is strongly committed to legal and ethical business practices and is moving forward with its aggressive compliance program."

Mr. Kim is the sixth Samsung executive to plead guilty to memory price fixing charges. If the judge agrees to his plea deal, he will spend the longest time in jail so far out of all of the defendants charged in the conspiracy.