At least one of the people behind those “industry sources” attributions in Apple rumor articles is very real and has a name, too. Former Samsung manager Suk-Joo Hwang testified before a federal court in New York late on Wednesday (via BusinessWeek) that he had disclosed confidential information about iPad components before the product was announced.
Hwang was a 14-year veteran at the U.S. division of Samsung when he told Primary Global Research LLC executive James Fleishman, and a hedge fund manager identified only as “Greg” about the South Korean company’s shipment of LCD displays intended for use in Apple’s iPad. Hwang passed on the information at a lunch between the three parties in Dec. 2009, a full four months before the actual shipping date of the original iPad, in April 2010.
The testimony is part of a case against Fleishman regarding allegations of insider trading, and Hwang was granted immunity from prosecution from the judge presiding over the case in exchange for his testimony. Hwang said that he made about $38,000 working for Primary Global Research as a consultant between 2004 and 2010.
The case shines a light on what’s normally a part of the Apple news cycle that mostly occupies the shadows. Analysts and research groups often cite supply chain checks and reports often come down from “supply chain sources,” but this is a fairly clear look at exactly what that could mean behind the scenes. Hwang’s may be an extreme example, as he was eventually sought out by the FBI and asked to testify against Fleishman, but if you’re wondering where the latest component shipment report came from, it just might be from an informal lunch meeting in exchange for a “consultancy fee.”