Three Leading Manufacturers of LCD Displays Fined $585 Million - Broadcasting & Cable

Three Leading Manufacturers of LCD Displays Fined $585 Million

LG, Sharp, Chunghwa Picture Tubes admitted to fixing the prices of LCD displays
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LG (South Korean), Sharp (Japanese), and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. (Tiawanese) have admitted to fixing the prices of liquid crystal display TV screens, computer monitors and other thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD screens and will have to pay over a half billion dollars in fines.


That is according to the Justice Department, which Wednesday announced the three leading manufacturers of LCD displays would have to pony up $585 million, $400 million coming from LG, which Justice says is the second highest criminal fine the department has ever imposed. Chunghwa will have to pay $65 million and Sharp $120 million.


Calling it an international cartel, Justice said that LG agreed to plead guilty to participating in the cartel from September 2001 through June 2006. The plea agreements are subject to court approval, Justice said.


Justice said the price fixing affected "millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day."


“Today’s charges and criminal fines emphasize the commitment of the Department of Justice to crack down on international cartels,” said Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in announcing the fines.


LG and Chungwha were charged with the following (taken straight  from the Justice Department release), while Sharp was charged in a separate price-fixing schem for fixing prices on LCD panels sold to Dell for computers, Motorola for its Razr phone and Apple for its iPods.


--Participating in meetings, conversations, and communications in Taiwan, Korea and the United States to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD panels;

--Agreeing during those meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels

--Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and

Exchanging information on sales of TFT-LCD panels, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.


Sharp is charged with participating in three separate conspiracies, to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold to Dell, Motorola and Apple by:


--Participating in bilateral meetings, conversations, and communications in Japan and the United States to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD panels to be sold to Dell, Apple and Motorola;

--Agreeing during those bilateral meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels to Dell, Apple and Motorola;

--Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and

--Exchanging information on sales of TFT-LCD panels to be sold to Dell, Apple and Motorola, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

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