Feeds

Fourth Samsung exec pleads guilty to price fixing

Agrees to eight month jail term

Security for virtualized datacentres

A Samsung executive at the centre of a memory chip price fixing scandal has pleaded guilty and agreed to serve eight months in jail. Thomas Quinn agreed the penalty as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Samsung Electronics is accused by the US Government of driving up the price of memory chips used in PCs and servers, called DRAM. He was accused of violating the Sherman Act.

The US Department of Justice has said that Quinn has agreed to the jail term and fine but that this must now be approved by a federal court in San Francisco.

"Prison time for price-fixers remains the most potent deterrent to illegal cartel activity," said Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the DoJ's anti-trust division. "Today's action sends a clear message – those who engage in price-fixing schemes will be held accountable for their illegal conduct."

Quinn is the fourth Samsung executive to plead guilty in the case. He is the thirteenth person to be found guilty in the probe, which has gathered $731m in fines. Samsung pleaded guilty and paid a $300m criminal fine in 2005.

The DoJ spent more than three years investigating price fixing between DRAM manufacturers between 1999 and 2003.

Other firms which have pleaded guilty include Hynix, which in April 2005 agreed to a $185m fine and Infineon, which agreed to pay a $160m fine in September 2004. In January, Japanese manufacturer Elpida Memory agreed to plead guilty and pay an $84m fine.

The DoJ's case claims that the price fixing scandal affected the businesses of some of IT's biggest names, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer, IBM, Apple, Gateway and Sun.

The case against Quinn said he conspired with unnamed employees from other memory makers to fix the prices of DRAM sold to original equipment manufacturers from on or about 1 April 2001 to on or about 15 June 2002, said the DoJ. It also said that he coordinated bids on a 5 December 2001 Sun Microsystems auction.

"Quinn is charged with carrying out the price fixing conspiracy by participating in meetings, conversations, and communications with competitors to discuss the prices of DRAM to be sold to certain customers [and] agreeing with competitors to coordinate bids submitted to Sun Microsystems Inc," said a DoJ statement.

"This is the most recent charge in our continuing efforts to bring to justice both domestic and foreign-based executives who were involved with fixing DRAM prices," said Scott Hammond, the anti-trust division's director of criminal enforcement. "We are still very actively investigating anti-trust violations in the DRAM industry."

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.