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Samsung founds $100m antitrust fines fund

In case the US DoJ gets tough

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Samsung has put $100m to one side just in case the US Department of Justice fines it for allegedly conspiring to fix memory prices.

The South Korean giant revealed the existence of the antitrust war chest today, 30 months or so after the DoJ began investigating claims that major memory makers, including Samsung, Infineon, Micron and Hynix, had colluded to raise DRAM prices.

The fund will protect the company against any "possible loss resulting from the ongoing antitrust investigation into the company", Samsung said.

The June 2002 investigation drew first blood this past summer, when Infineon admitted it had been involved and was fined a $160m, the third largest in the history of US antitrust action. This month, four company executives - Heinrich Florian, Gunter Hefner, Peter Schaefer and T Rudd Corwin - pleaded guilty to their role in the price fixing scandal. They to serve between four and six months in gaol and pay $250,000 each in fines.

Infineon isn't the only one to cough to the crime. In November, Micron admitted it had been involved too, laying the blame at the door of certain company staffers - it was the result of individual action rather than corporate policy, the memory maker claimed. Micron's public confession appears to have spared it criminal charges and fines. Samsung's move to put aside money in case it too is fined, suggests it will not follow Micron's example.

Certainly, it maintains a 'no comment' on the DoJ probe and insists that a negative outcome (for Samsung) is not at all guaranteed. ®

Related stories

Four Infineon execs heading to jail on price-fixing charges
Micron employees fixed DRAM prices
Infineon pleads guilty to memory price-fixing
Memory makers hit by price-fixing claims
Sony, Samsung agree to share toys

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