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Samsung admits it rigged DRAM prices

Will pay $300m fine

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Samsung yesterday pleaded guilty to conspiring with other memory makers to fix prices.

The plea was merely a formality - the South Korean giant coughed to the charge back in October. Then, it agreed to pay $300m to settle the case brought against it by the US Department of Justice.

In November 2001, Samsung described allegations that it and other memory makers had secretly agreed to fix DRAM prices between 1 July 1999 and 14 June 2002 as "total nonsense".

The comment was made after the DoJ began to investigate such claims. That three-year probe notched up is first victim in September 2004: Germany's Infineon admitted its culpability and agreed to pay $160m. Two months later, Micron said some of its employees had been involved, and that it was co-operating with the DoJ to avoid "prosecution, fines or other penalties".

In December 2004, just after four Infineon executives were jailed for their part in the scam, Samsung said it was putting aside $100m to help cover any fine it might be forced to pay by the DoJ.

Hynix made the same move in March 2005 - just as well, as it was fined $185m by the DoJ less than a month later. ®

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