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Disk price fixing executives face prison

Hitachi and LG executives are being measured for orange jumpsuits
Wed Dec 14 2011, 13:21

EXECUTIVES AT HARD DISK FIRMS LG and Hitachi face the prospect of going to prison for their involvement in price fixing schemes.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that three executives at Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS) have agreed to plead guilty to charges of bid rigging and price fixing in the optical disk drive market.

Young Keun Park, Sang Hun Kim and Sik Hur - otherwise known as Daniel Hur - have also agreed to serve prison time, according to the DoJ's statement, for their role in a price fixing scheme that lead to companies like Dell, HP and Microsoft missing out on a more competitive market.

Under a plea agreement, Park and Kim have agreed to serve eight months in prison and Hur seven months. Each will pay a $25,000 criminal fine. The plea agreement also means that the three will assist the government in its optical disk drive industry price fixing investigations.

"Today's plea agreements demonstrate the Antitrust Division's continued commitment to protect competition in the high tech industry," said Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney general with the DoJ's antitrust division.

"The division will continue to pursue and prosecute those who participate in bid-rigging and price-fixing conspiracies that harm businesses and consumers in the optical disk drive industry."

This is the second round of charges againgst HLDS leveled by the DoJ, and last month the firm pleaded guilty to 14 counts of violating US federal antitrust laws. HLDS was sentenced to pay a $21.1m criminal fine. It too has promised to help the DoJ with its further investigations.

Park, Kim and Hur are charged with multiple violations of the Sherman Act, said the DoJ, and each count carries a maximum fine of $1m and up to 10 years' imprisonment. µ


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