Hitachi Displays Ltd. Has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices on the sale of LCD panels. The Japan-based electronics firm agreed to pay a $31 million fine as part of its agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. Three other major producers of liquid crystal display panels have already admitted their involvement in price-fixing. Hitachi admitted to fixing prices of the screens sold to Dell, Inc. for use in desktop monitors and notebook computers from 2001 to 2004.
LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. Entered into similar plea agreements last year relating to their sales of glass display screens. LG Display, a South Korean company, and its LG Display America Inc. unit agreed to pay a $400 million fine for its part in fixing prices of certain LCD panels from 2001 to 2006. Chunghwa, a Taiwanese company, agreed to pay $65 million for its role in the scheme. And Sharp, a Japanese company, agreed to pay $120 million for participating in separate conspiracies to fix the price of certain LCD panels sold to Dell, Motorola and Apple. Those panels were used in computer monitors, laptops, Motorola Razr mobile phones and Apple’s iPod portable music players.
With the Hitachi plea, the U.S. government will have brought in more than $600 million in criminal fines stemming from LCD price-fixing. Acting Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond had this to say in a statement concerning the settlement:
This case should send a strong message to multinational companies operating in the United States that when it comes to enforcing the U.S. antitrust laws we mean business.
I hope that one of these days the mindset of those who run major corporations will be such that “doing the right thing” will be the accepted way to do business. Until then there will be more reporting of wrongdoing in the corporate world.
Source: Associated Press
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