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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 06:07 GMT 07:07 UK
Samsung boss admits price fixing
Workers on a Samsung semiconductor production line
Microchip production is a highly competitive industry
A sixth executive of South Korean firm Samsung Electronics has pleaded guilty in the US to charges of fixing the price of microchips.

Il Ung Kim, vice president of marketing at Samsung's memory division, has agreed to serve 14 months in a US jail, the US Justice Department said.

The chip price fixing took place during the four years to 2004, and also involved Elpida, Infineon and Hynix.

So far the four firms have paid fines totalling more than $730m (364m).

In all, 18 individuals have now been charged.

'Harming consumers'

Under his plea agreement, Mr Kim will also pay a $250,000 fine, and agree to help the Justice Department with its ongoing investigation.

Washington has blamed the price fixing scheme for artificially driving up the cost of chips used in everything from computers to mobile phones and game consoles.

"We are committed to prosecuting executives who violate US antitrust laws and harm consumers and competition in the United States," said Justice Department lawyer Thomas Barnett.

"Even when those executives conduct their cartel activity overseas."

A Samsung spokeswoman said the firm was "strongly committed to fair competition and ethical practices".

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