Samsung marketing head Thomas Quinn has pled guilty of taking part in a global memory price-fixing scam and faces jail.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) charged Quinn with violating the anti-monopoly Sherman Act for helping engineer an agreement to fix DRAM prices and co-ordinate bids in a 5 December 2001 Sun auction.
Under the plea agreement, which still has to be approved by the district court, Quinn has agreed to serve an eight-month prison sentence and pay a $250,000 fine.
In addition, Quinn has agreed to assist the DoJ in its ongoing investigation. "We are still very actively investigating anti-trust violations in the DRAM industry," the DoJ's Antitrust Division director of criminal enforcement, Scott Hammond, said.
DRAM is the most commonly used semiconductor memory product. The alleged price fixing harmed computer makers, by making manufacturers such as Apple, Dell and HP pay more for DRAM than they otherwise would have, the DoJ said. The costs were then passed on to consumers.
In March, three other Samsung executives agreed to a similar plea deal. Sun Woo Lee, Samsung's senior manager of DRAM sales, agreed to a sentence of eight months in prison. Yeongho Kang, associate director of DRAM marketing and Young Woo Lee, sales director for Samsung's German subsidiary, both agreed to serve seven months. The three also agreed to each pay a $250,000 fine.
With Thursday's plea agreement, four companies and 13 individuals have been charged and fines totaling more than $731 million have resulted from the investigation.