(AFP) – Aug 25, 2009
WASHINGTON — Japanese electronics manufacturer Epson Imaging Devices Corp. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a 26-million-dollar fine for its role in a price-fixing conspiracy, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.
Epson, a subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corp., conspired to fix prices in the sale of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels sold to US company Motorola Inc for use in Razr mobile phones from the fall of 2005 to the middle of 2006, the department said in a statement.
TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors, notebooks, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
The department said a one-count felony charge was filed against Epson on Tuesday in US District Court in San Francisco.
Epson's plea agreement is subject to court approval.
As part of the agreement Epson has agreed to cooperate with its ongoing investigation into price-fixing by electronics companies from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the department said.
Nine Asian electronics executives have been charged in connection with the probe and the Justice Department has imposed fines totaling 616 million dollars on South Korea's LG Display, Japan's Sharp Corp., Taiwan's Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. and Hitachi Displays Ltd. of Japan.
LG Display, formerly known as LG Philips LCD Co. Ltd, agreed in November to pay a fine of 400 million dollars. Sharp agreed to pay a 120-million-dollar fine while Chunghwa was fined 65 million dollars.
Hitachi Displays Ltd. agreed in March to pay a 31-million-dollar fine.
The fine levied on LG Display was the second-largest US antitrust fine after the record 500 million dollars handed down against Swiss pharmaceutical giant F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. in 1999 for fixing vitamin prices.
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