A former manager of Samsung Electronics has admitted, in court, that he leaked information about components in Apple’s iPad prior to the device’s release, reports Bloomberg. The revelation emerged during the trial of accused insider-trader James Fleishman, an executive of Primary Global Research.
In his testimony, Suk-Joo Hwang, who worked at Samsung’s US division for 14 years, told jurors that he had a meeting with Fleishman and another man, who he identified only as “Greg,” had a meeting in Mountain View, California in December 2009. During the meeting, Hwang said he told the pair about liquid crystal screens Samsung was supplying for Apple’s upcoming iPad, which made its debut in April 2010 — four months after the meeting — as well as estimated iPad shipment numbers.
Hwang, who also worked for PGR as a consultant for about six years, says he was given immunity from prosecutors in the case for revealing the confidential information in exchange for his testimony.
“One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,” said Hwang during the trial. “This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting.”
Hwang said that, after he revealed the private Apple data during the meeting, he turned and saw a man in the restaurant, at another table who was staring at him, causing him to become concerned that the man worked for Apple, and had overheard his comments.
“After I said it, I looked around,” Hwang said. “The first thing I thought was ‘Wow, I said it too loud’ and then I really freaked out.”
Prior to the meeting, Hwang said he had turned around his Samsung badge to hide his identity and that of his employer.
Not long after the lunch meeting, Hwang learned that Apple had canceled its supply contract with Samsung.
After the lunch, Hwang said he wanted to stop working for PGR, but they offered him a raise from $200 per hour to $350 per hour, plus the option to work anonymously. He agreed, and stayed with PGR until August 2010. He was eventually fired from Samsung.
Correction: Typo corrected at 4pm EST