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Grand Jury Indicts 3 in Chip Price-Fixing Case

October 19, 2006|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Executives of two South Korean companies were indicted Wednesday as part of a U.S. investigation into price-fixing in the computer memory chip business, the Justice Department said.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco handed down indictments against Il Ung Kim and Young Bae Rha of Samsung Electronics Co. and Gary Swanson of a U.S. subsidiary of Hynix Semiconductor Inc.

The indictment charges that the three participated in the conspiracy during 2001 and 2002, the Justice Department said.

The U.S. government has blamed the price-fixing scheme for driving up the price of chips used in personal computers, servers, cellphones, cameras and game consoles.

A spokesman for Samsung could not be immediately reached for comment. A representative at Hynix's office in San Jose said the company had no comment.

Earlier this year, four other Hynix executives and four from Samsung pleaded guilty in connection with the case and agreed to serve jail terms ranging from five to eight months.

In 2004, four executives at Munich, Germany-based Infineon Technologies also pleaded guilty and agreed to serve jail terms of four to six months.

In all, four companies and 16 individuals have been charged as a result of the long-running memory-chip investigation. The probe also has resulted in fines totaling more that $731 million.

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