LG, Sharp, Chunghwa To Pay $585M In LCD Price-Fixing Scandal

The Justice Department investigation alleges that LG and Chunghwa conspired to drive up prices of LCDs sold to unidentified companies and Sharp conspired with other, unnamed LCD manufacturers to kick up the prices of screens sold to Dell, Motorola, Apple and other vendors.

According to a press release from Sharp, the company Wednesday confirmed that it concluded a plea agreement with the Justice Department to pay a fine of approximately 12 billion yen ($120 million). The Department of Justice in a press release stated that South Korea-based LG Display and Taiwan-based Chunghwa will also cooperate, agreeing to pay $400 million and $65 million, respectively.

"These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. "These convictions, and the significant fines they carry, should send a clear message that the Antitrust Division will vigorously investigate and prosecute illegal cartels, regardless of where they are located."

The Justice Department has been investigating the pricing practices of major Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) manufacturers since late 2006. The charges against the three LCD makers were filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging price fixing between various periods from 2001 to 2006.

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"There are a number of other participants in this market that have not been charged today," said Barnett in a press conference, according to Reuters. "This is very much an ongoing investigation."