U.S. fines Bill Gates $800,000

It may just be pocket change for the richest man in the world, but Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has been fined $800,000 by the federal government for violating an antitrust rule.

The technical incident has nothing to do with the government's massive antitrust battles with Microsoft. Gates, whose fortune has been estimated at more than $40 billion, ran afoul of the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department's Antitrust Division for his purchases of stock in a drug company and a waste-hauling firm.

The Justice Department said Gates has agreed to pay the civil penalty to settle a charge that he violated "premerger reporting requirements." In a civil suit filed in federal court in Washington Monday, the department said Gates' error stemmed from his acquisition of more than $50 million in voting stock in ICOS, a drug maker, in May 2002. The government said Gates did not qualify for an exemption to federal notification requirements because he intended to participate in the business decisions of ICOS through his long-standing membership on that company's board of directors.

News source: CNN

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