LG Display Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation and Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. agreed to plead guilty and pay US$585 million in criminal fines for conspiring to fix prices in the sale of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels between 2001 and 2006. TFT-LCD panels, which are used in electronic devices such as computer monitors, laptops, televisions and mobile phones, were a roughly US$70 billion industry in 2006.
LG and Chunghwa are accused of participating in meetings in Taiwan, South Korea and the United States, where they agreed with other manufacturers to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold worldwide. Sharp is charged with participating in three other conspiracies to fix the price of TFTLCD panels sold to Apple, Dell and Motorola.
Under the agreement, LG will pay US$400 million, the second highest criminal fine attained by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division. Sharp and Chunghwa agreed to pay US$120 million and US$65 million, respectively. The DOJ applauded the efforts of each company’s board of directors for cooperating in the investigation and noted that the fines would have otherwise been significantly higher.
Multidistrict litigation is currently pending in the Northern District of California against Sharp, Chunghwa and numerous other manufacturers of TFT-LCD panels for colluding to fix prices.