Ex-Samsung exec admits iPad supply chain leak

Sep 15, 2011
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Ex-Samsung exec admits iPad supply chain leak

A former Samsung Electronics manager has admitted to previously leaking details of Apple's iPad supply chain, revealing display panel shipments for the first-gen slate in private meetings with analysts and hedge fund managers. Suk-Joo Hwang told a New York federal court that, during his 14 year US tenure with Samsung, he met with Global Research LLC exec James Fleishman and a mystery hedge fund manager, BusinessWeek reports, during which time they discussed confidential details of Apple's contracts with the Korean company. "One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple," Hwang admitted of a 2009 meeting, "it was about iPad."

At the time, Apple's first iPad had yet to be officially announced, and speculation was rife around what the much-rumored tablet might be called. "This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then," Hwang recalled. "So I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting."

Fleishman is accused of conspiracy, attempting to use insider information such as Hwang's to better educate the advice of the expert-networking company Primary Global. According to Hwang - who was paid $38,000 over six years for his work as a Primary Global consultant - news of the 9.7-inch panel orders made the fund manager "very excited" and the ex-exec subsequently became concerned that he was being monitored by Apple.

Four months after that lunch, Apple released the iPad. Meanwhile, Hwang's paranoia was fueled by news that Samsung had lost a supply contract with Apple, which he believed could have been motivated by his leaking. He was fired from Samsung in June 2011, after being approached by the FBI in October 2010 about his work for Primary Global.

Samsung has declined to comment on the revelations, but will undoubtedly be monitoring Hwang's continued testimony when the court sits again today. Due to a decision by the US District Judge Jed Rakoff, presiding the ongoing case, Hwang cannot be used against him unless he commits perjury.


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