A trio of CE manufacturers, including LG and Sharp, have agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing charges and pay $585 million in fines, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. The companies, as well as Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd., pled guilty of conspiring to fix prices on LCD panels. They also agreed to cooperate with the continuing investigation.
LG is on the hook for $400 million of the total, which marks the second-highest criminal fine ever levied by the Antitrust Division of the DOJ. Sharp will pay $120 million and Chungwha $65 million. LG and Chungwha were accused of reaching secret agreements to set the prices of the items and then sharing sales data, while Sharp was charged with fixing prices on panels they sold to such companies as Apple, Dell and Motorola.
"Today’s charges and criminal fines emphasize the commitment of the Department of Justice to crack down on international cartels," Attorney General Michael Mukasey said as part of the announcement. The investigation had been carried out by both the DOJ Antitrust division and FBI offices in San Francisco.