Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

LCD PRICE-FIXING CONSPIRACY

On April 27, 2009, Bock Kwon, a high level executive at LG Display Co. Ltd. (“LG”) pled guilty, agreed to serve one year in prison in the United States and pay a criminal fine of $30,000 for his role in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) industry by fixing prices of TFT-LCD panels.
TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors, notebooks, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. Worldwide sales in 2006 were $70 billion.

In March 2009, Hitachi Displays, Ltd. pled guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $31 million for its role in the same conspiracy. In January 2009, three former executives of three different electronics manufacturers pled guilty for their roles in a global price fixing conspiracy in the sale of TFT-LCD panels. According to the Department of Justice, these were 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.