Three prominent LCD manufacturers, LG Display Co., Sharp Corp, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes, have agreed to plead guilty to US Department of Justice allegations for conspiring in price-fixing of liquid crystal displays, and pay USD 585million as criminal fines.
The justice department said that LG Display will pay USD 400million, the second-highest criminal fines charged by the department, whereas Sharp Corp. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes will pay USD 120million and USD 65 million respectively, for plotting with LG Display.
Thomas Barnett, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, stated that the trio met a number of occasions in their purported “crystal meetings” from 2001 to 2006, to fix prices on liquid crystal displays, widely used in desktop, laptop, mobiles, and TV screens.
He said in a statement, “These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day”.
Japan-based Sharp will pay fines for three distinct conspiracies with its partners, who sold LCD panels at overstated prices to Motorola for its Razr mobile handsets, Apple for panels in iPod, and Dell for desktop monitors and notebooks.
Barnett said that the investigation is still going on, and if the individuals are eventually charged and convicted, they could serve a sentence of up to 10 years.