DOJ fines Gates US$800,000

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Microsoft chairman William H. Gates III has agreed to pay a fine of US$800,000 for allegedly failing to disclose an investment in a Seattle area pharmaceutical company, the US Department of Justice said this week.

According to the Justice Department civil suit filed Monday in the US District Court in Washington, D.C., Gates failed to comply with antitrust premerger notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act after acquiring more than US$50 million of the voting securities of Icos in Bothell, Washington.

Gates, who acquired the securities through his personal investment company, is on the board of directors at Icos. The Justice Department said Gates is not exempt from notification because he intends to participate in business directions of the company.

The department also filed a proposed settlement with Gates that, if approved by the court, will settle the charges. The case is not related to the Justice Department's antitrust settlement with Microsoft, the department said in a statement.

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