A top executive from Samsung has been given 10 months in prison and a $250,000 fine for his role in a global conspiracy to fix DRAM prices.
Young Hwan Park, currently president of subsidiary Samsung Semiconductor, pled guilty yesterday to a violation of the US Sherman Antitrust Act for conspiring with other companies to fix DRAM prices.
Park was formerly vice president of sales at Samsung and is the fifth Samsung executive to agree to prison sentences in the US Department of Justice's ongoing price-fixing investigation. Samsung is the world's largest manufacturer of DRAM, a memory chip commonly used in PCs and several other electronic devices.
Since December 2003, the DoJ has charged four DRAM vendors and 18 people in the price-fixing investigation. People who "choose to engage in price fixing are on notice of the consequences of their illegal actions - criminal fines and prison time," the assistant attorney general in charge of the Anti-trust Division, Thomas O. Barnett, said.
Park conspired with employees from other memory makers to fix the prices of DRAM sold to OEMs from April 2001 to June 2002. Computer makers affected included Dell, HP, Apple and Gateway. He participated in meetings with other DRAM makers where the prices of DRAM were discussed, and he committed to charging the agreed prices.
Samsung pleaded guilty to the price-fixing conspiracy and was sentenced to pay a $300 million fine in November 2005. Hynix, the world’s second-largest DRAM manufacturer, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $185 million fine in May 2005.
In January, Japanese manufacturer Elpida Memory agreed to plead guilty and pay an $84 million fine. In October 2004, German manufacturer Infineon pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $160 million fine.