The U.S. Justice Department has announced the Taiwan’s Chi Mei Optoelectronics has agreed to plead guilty and pay $220 million in penalties for its participation in a scheme to fix prices for LCD displays. If the plea is approved, Chi Mei will also cooperate in the DOJ’s ongoing price fixing investigation.
According to the DOJ, Chi Mei participated in the LCD price fixing scheme with several other companies, including Hitachi, Sharp, LG, and Chungwa Picture Tube—with some company executives even drawing jail time for their role in the conspiracy. Chi Mei participated in the meetings at which pre-determined prices were reached, and shared sales data on TFT-LCD panels to help enforce the companies’ conformance to the price-fixing scheme.
Total penalties assessed so far in the LCD price fixing cases now total more than $860 million. And the battle is not over: while the recent guilty pleas and settlements have related to LCD panels used in computers and televisions, AT&T and Nokia are suing many of the same companies for price fixing LCD panels for mobile devices.