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LCD Price Fixing Scheme To Cost Manufacturers $585 Million

Washington—Three big electronics manufacturers—LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd.—are going to pay $585 million in criminal fines for engaging in price fixing in the sale of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

LG will pay $400 million of the total amount, making it the second highest criminal fine ever imposed by the Department’s Antitrust Division.

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

In a statement, DOJ said that in 2006, the LCD panel market was approximately $70 billion. Firms hurt by the LCD price-fixing scheme included some of the largest "computer, television and cellular telephone manufacturers in the world, including Apple, Dell and Motorola."

LG Display Co. Ltd, a South Korean corporation, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, LG Display America Inc., a California company (LG), agreed to plead guilty.

Sharp Corp., a  Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, is going to pay a $120 million fine for its participation in the scheme. Chunghwa, a Taiwanese LCD panel manufacturer, is going to pay $65 million.

“These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day,” Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division, said.