EU raids Samsung's Germany office

EC officials are investigating competition, price fixing in the SRAM market

Samsung Semiconductor Europe is one of several chip companies in Germany raided by the European Commission as part of an investigation into price fixing.

Samsung's offices near Frankfurt were raided on Oct. 11 by Commission officials who are investigating competition in the SRAM (static RAM) market, said Thomas Arenz, a spokesman for Samsung in Germany. The Commission is the European Union's executive and regulatory arm.

"For the time being, we are fully cooperating with the investigation," Arenz said. So far, Samsung in Germany hasn't been asked to turn over any specific documents or make statements, he said.

On Tuesday, the European Commission said that on Oct. 11 it conducted unannounced inspections at the offices of several SRAM producers in Germany but it didn't name the companies. The Commission believes that the companies may have been involved in price fixing, it said. In addition to the Commission officials, representatives from Germany's competition authority were also at hand during the raids.

Such surprise inspections are part of the preliminary stages of an investigation into cartels, the Commission said.

In October, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) also launched an antitrust investigation into the SRAM market. Five companies including Sony ElectronicsCypress SemiconductorSamsung ElectronicsToshiba, and Mitsubishi Electric said they've been contacted by the DOJ regarding the investigation.

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