EU squashes chipmaker cartel, fines could reach $381 million

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European Union regulators are cracking down on a number of chipmakers for price fixing. Sources close to the situation name nine memory chip manufacturers in the case including Samsung, NEC, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Hynix, Infineon, Nanya, and Elpida. Micron who you probably know by the brand Crucial exposed the cartel and thus will not be fined for its involvement.

The EU is expected to announce a decision on the fines Wednesday with penalties as high as 300 million ($381 million). That sum may have been higher without the help of a settlement procedure introduced by the European Commission in 2008, which grants companies to a 10% reduction in fines if they admit to collusion. The commission can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover for violating EU laws.

This news comes after US and South Korean antitrust regulators closed investigations of the flash memory industry last year, finding no evidence of a pricing cartel. In 2007, South Korean official also dropped a price-fixing investigation involving Samsung, Micron, Infineon, and Hynix.

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