Prices for the flat screens in televisions, personal computers, and cellphones have plummeted in recent years -- but the decline would have been even faster if it hadn’t been for an international price-fixing cartel, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
Three leading flat-screen producers -- LG Display of South Korea, Sharp of Japan, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes of Taiwan -- pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a total of $585 million in criminal fines for their role in fixing the price of liquid-crystal display panels.
LG is paying the most: a $400 million fine, the second-highest criminal fine ever imposed by the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The largest was the $500 million paid in 1999 by F. Hoffmann-La Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical giant, for leading a price-fixing cartel in vitamin supplements.
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