South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty to a charge that it conspired to fix the price of memory chips and will pay a $300 million fine, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
The Justice Department said the criminal antitrust fine was the second-largest in U.S. history, and it left open the possibility that charges could be filed later against individual Samsung employees.
Samsung and its U.S. subsidiary pleaded guilty to conspiring with other chip makers, between April 1999 and June 2002 to fix the prices of memory chips sold to some computer and server manufacturers.
“By conspiring to drive up the price of DRAM, Samsung and its co-conspirators forced consumers to pay more for these products,” department acting antitrust chief Thomas Barnett told a news conference.
Under the plea agreement, which must still be approved by U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Samsung has agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigations, the government said.
Samsung issued a statement saying the price-fixing charges against the company had been “fully resolved.”
“Samsung strongly supports fair competition and ethical practices and forbids anti-competitive behavior,” it said.