On January 15, 2009, Chang Suk (“C.S.”) Chung, former Vice President of Monitor Sales for LG Display Co. Ltd. (“LG”), Chieng-Hon Lin (“Frank”), former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. (“Chunghwa”), Chih-Chun Liu (“C.C.”), former Vice President of LCD Sales for Chunghwa, and Hseuh-Lung Lee (“Brian”), former executive of Chunghwa, all pled guilty to their roles in a global conspiracy to fix prices in the sale of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (“TFT-LCD”) panels. They also agreed to serve jail time and pay criminal fines.
TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors, notebooks, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. Worldwide sales in 2006 were $70 billion.
C.S. agreed to serve a seven-month prison term and pay a criminal fine of $25,000. Frank agreed to serve a nine-month prison term and pay a criminal fine of $50,000. C.C. agreed to serve a seven-month prison term and pay a criminal fine of $30,000. Brian agreed to serve a six-month prison term and pay a criminal fine of $20,000.
All charged individuals allegedly conspired with other TFT-LCD panel makers to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of their products. C.S. allegedly participated in the conspiracy from September 21, 2001 to June 1, 2006. Frank, C.C., and Brian allegedly participated in the conspiracy at various times between September 14, 2001 and December 1, 2006.
According to the Department of Justice, these are the first individuals charged in the investigation into the TFT-LCD industry. On November 12, 2008, LG Display Co. Ltd. (“LG”), Sharp Corp. (“Sharp”), and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. (“Chunghwa”) pled guilty for their role in a conspiracy to fix prices for liquid crystal display (“LCD”) panels and agreed to pay criminal fines totaling $585 million.