Hitachi Executives Plead Guilty to Disk Price Fixing, Will Serve Prison Time

Paul Lilly

A trio of executives at Hitachi and LG will spend some time behind bars for conspiring to rig bids and fix prices for the sale of optical disk drives, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today. Young Keun Park, Sang Hun Kim, and Sik Hur (aka Daniel Hur) each agreed to plead guilty, with Park and Kim agreeing to serve eight months in prison and Hur agreeing to seven months. All three also agreed to pay $25,000 in criminal fines.

"Today’s plea agreements demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s continued commitment to protect competition in the high tech industry," said Sharis A. Pozen , Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’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."

The three men conspired with co-conspirators to fix prices for optical disk drives sold to Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft at various times between November 2005 and September 2009, according to felony charges filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

This is the second round of charges against Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. (HLDS) resulting from the DoJ's ongoing investigation into the optical disk industry. On November 8, 2011, HLDS pleaded guilty to 14 counts of violating federal antitrust laws, as well as one count of participating in a scheme to defraud. At the time, HLSD was ordered to pay $21.1 million in criminal fines and to assist the department in its ongoing investigation.

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