Hitachi-LG Data Storage exec pleads guilty to price-fixing

Bids were rigged on sales to HP

An executive with Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS) has agreed to plead guilty and serve time in a U.S. prison for his participation in a series of conspiracies to rig bids for the sale of optical disk drives to Hewlett-Packard, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Senior sales manager Woo Jin Yang, also known as Eugene Yang, conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids for optical disk drives sold to HP, the DOJ said in a press release. Yang participated in the conspiracies between August 2006 and June 2009, according to a four-count felony charge filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

Under a plea agreement, Yang has agreed to serve six months in prison, to pay a US$25,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the DOJ's ongoing investigation, the agency said.

HLDS is a joint venture between Hitachi, a Japanese company, and LG Electronics, a South Korean company. A company representative wasn't immediately available for comment on Yang's plea.

Optical disk drives are devices such as CD-ROMs, CD-RWs, DVD-ROMs and DVD-RWs that use laser light or electromagnetic waves to read and write data to computers and gaming consoles.

HLDS executives Y.K. Park, S.H. Kim and Sik Hur pleaded guilty to multiple antitrust violations in March and April. Park, Kim and Hur are currently awaiting sentencing.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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