The corporate pockets of heavyweight panel producers LG Display and Sharp Corp. are this week experiencing a distinctly uncomfortable stinging sensation after the U.S. Department of Justice slapped the companies with massive fines related to illegal price fixing.
The price fixing agreements in question saw both LG and Sharp selling illegally fixed-price LCD display hardware to the likes of computer and gadget manufacturers Dell, Apple and Motorola for use in a range of mobile devices and computer monitors.
A subsequent admittance of guilt from both parties has now left LG and Sharp facing substantial combined fines in the amount of $585 million USD, with South Korean LG Display shouldering some $400 million USD of the total payment.
According to CNNMoney, LG’s portion of the financial penalty ranks as the second highest criminal fine ever imposed by the anti-trust division of the Justice Department.
Japanese consumer electronics giant Sharp will carry a further $120 million USD of the total figure, while Taiwan-based Chunghwa -- also found to be culpable in the price fixing -- will pay the remaining $65 million USD.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, the chief anti-trust officer at the U.S. Justice Department, outlined that Sharp participated in three separate incidences of LCD panel price fixing with a number of unnamed co-conspirators, while LG and Chunghwa conspired with each other on agreeing fixed price points.
By way of formal apology for its actions, Sharp Corp. released an official statement regarding the illegal practice, saying that it understands the gravity of the situation and will “strengthen and thoroughly implement measures to prevent the recurrence of this kind of problem, and will earnestly work to regain the public’s confidence.”