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Hitachi Data Storage Bid-Rigging Conspiracy Lands Korean Executive in U.S. Prison

Woo Jin Yang, Senior Sales Manager of Korea-based Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc., has agreed to a guilty plea on charges that he participated in a conspiracy to rig bids involving the sale of optical disk drives, according to the Justice Department.

Mr. Yang allegedly conspired to suppress competition by rigging bids for the sale of optical disk drives to Hewlett-Packard Co. from about August 2006 to June 2009. If the plea agreement is approved by the court, Mr. Yang will serve six months in prison and pay a $25,000 fine. He has also agreed to cooperate in the Justice Department’s continuing investigation.

Optical disk drives are devices that use electromagnetic waves or laser light to read and write data. CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, CD-RWs (ReWritable), and DVD-RWs (ReWritable) are examples of optical disk drives.

Allegedly, from 2006 to 2009, HP hosted a number of optical disk drive procurement events. Participants would receive contracts to supply optical disk drives depending on where their price fell. Mr. Yang and his co-conspirators are alleged to have participated in conspiracies in which they met and discussed bidding strategies and to set prices for their optical disk drives. As a result, Mr. Yang and his co-conspirators submitted collusive and noncompetitive bids to HP at the procurement events.

Including Yang, the department has charged four individuals and one company as a result of its ongoing investigation into the optical disk drive industry. Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. and the other three executives have already pleaded guilty. The company is required to pay a $21.1 million fine. The other executives are awaiting sentencing.

Waters & Kraus is a national firm with highly skilled lawyers practicing qui tam litigation in four offices, including Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Baltimore. Our attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing whistleblowers in a variety of fraud cases. Contact us or call our attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.

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