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German Chipmaker Infineon Admits Price Fixing

German computer chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG has agreed to plead guilty to price fixing and will pay a $160 million fine, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

In a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Infineon acknowledged conspiring with other companies to fix prices of widely used computer memory products between July 1999 and June 2002.

The victims included some of the world's largest computer companies --Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Gateway.

The fine is the third-largest imposed in a criminal case by the Justice Department's antitrust division. The 1999 breakup of a vitamin cartel led to a $500 million payment by Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. and $225 million by BASF AG.

Infineon and other chipmakers produce ``dynamic random access memory'' products used in digital recorders, personal computers, printers, video recorders, mobile phones and many other electronics. The U.S. market for these products is about $5 billion a year.

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