Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mistrial Declared in DRAM Price Fixing Suit Against Executive

This posting was written by Jeffrey May, Editor of CCH Trade Regulation Reporter.

The federal district court in San Francisco on March 6 declared a mistrial in a Department of Justice Antitrust Division action against an executive for Hynix Semiconductor America Inc. The mistrial was declared after the jury informed the court on two occasions that it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and that it was hopelessly deadlocked.

2006 Indictment

On October 18, 2006, a federal grand jury indicted Gary Swanson and two executives from another producer of dynamic random access memory (DRAM)—Samsung Electronics Ltd.—for their alleged participation in a global conspiracy to fix DRAM prices. DRAM is a commonly used semiconductor memory product.

At the time of the alleged conspiracy, Swanson was senior vice president of memory sales and marketing for Hynix America, the U.S.-based subsidiary of Hynix Semiconductor Inc., which is headquartered in Korea. Swanson is a U.S. citizen.

The two other executives charged in the indictment are Korean citizens. One of them, Il Ung Kim, who was vice president of marketing for the memory division at Samsung, agreed in 2007 to plead guilty to a single count of price fixing, to serve jail time, to pay a criminal fine, and to assist prosecutors in the ongoing investigation.

Charges against a third defendant, Young Bae Rha, who was vice president of marketing for the memory division at Samsung at the time of the indictment, remain pending.

The case is U.S. v. Gary Swanson, CR-06-0692 PJH.

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