Hynix ring-fences $342m against antitrust fines

Under the mattress for a rainy day

hands waving dollar bills in the air

Hynix has put by KRW347bn ($341m) in case the US government finds it guilty of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour, it has emerged.

The fine fund's existence was spotted in a footnote to the memory chip maker's FY2004 results report, a story in Korean paper Joong Ang Daily reveals.

The move follows the launch in 2002 of an investigation into the alleged formation of a DRAM price-fixing cartel which operated between 1999 and 2002. The US Department of Justice probe notched up its first victim in August 2004, when Infineon was fined a record $160m for its part in the cartel.

Investigators also pursued Hynix, Micron and Samsung - the latter admitted last December it had put in place a $100m reserve in case it too is fined.

Last November, Micron tacitly admitted that it had been involved, though it blamed its anti-trust activities on individual employees. At the time, it said it was co-operating with the DoJ probe in order to avoid criminal sanctions and fines. ®

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