Four Korean executives to serve
U.S. jail sentences for price fixing
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
March 1, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The U.S. Justice Department announced
today that four executives of a Korean semiconductor company have
agreed to plead guilty in federal court in San Francisco and serve
jail sentences in the United States in an international price-fixing
In connection with the agreement, federal prosecutors filed a
single criminal charge of price-fixing conspiracy against the
four executives of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. in U.S. District Court
in San Francisco today.
The four managers, who worked for Hynix subsidiaries in the United
States and Germany, will serve sentences of five to eight months
in jail under the plea agreement.
The case is part of an ongoing U.S. investigation of international
fixing of the prices of memory chips known as dynamic random access
memory, or DRAM, between 1999 and 2002.
Thus far, four companies from South Korea, Japan and Germany
and five other individuals have pleaded guilty to various charges
and agreed to pay fines totaling more than $731 million.
Hynix, based in Ichon, South Korea, pleaded guilty in federal
court in San Francisco last year to conspiring to fix DRAM prices
and agreed to pay a $185 million fine.
The four Hynix executives each agreed to pay a $250,000 fine
and cooperate in the continuing investigation in addition to serving
the jail time.
DRAM chips are used in many electronic devices, including computers,
printers, servers, hard disk drives, telephones, mobile phones
and digital cameras.
The criminal charges filed in the various cases alleged that
U.S. computer companies victimized by the price fixing included
Dell Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Apple Computer
Inc. and International Business Machines Corp.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Barnett, who heads the
Justice Department's antitrust division, said, "Prison time
for price fixers is the most potent deterrent to illegal cartel
Barnett said, "These guilty pleas demonstrate our commitment
to ensuring that participants in cartels serve time in prison."
The guilty pleas and proposed sentences must be approved by a
federal judge, the Justice Department said.
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.