A Japanese manufacturer of LCD screens has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $26 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale of electronics to Motorola, marking the latest corporate defendant to settle with the Justice Department in a long-running antitrust investigation.
Electronics manufacturer Epson Imaging Devices Corporation, a subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation, participated in a conspiracy from in 2005 and in 2006 to fix prices of panels that Motorola used in “Razr” cell phones, according to Justice officials. A one-count felony charge was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Epson agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing antitrust investigation that has generated more than $600 million in criminal fines against other manufacturers of LCD panels who were accused in the conspiracy. Epson, known as Sanyo Epson Imaging Devices Corporation during the conspiracy, participated in the scheme through “bilateral meetings, conversations and communications,” Justice officials said.
In December, LG Display Co. pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy to fix the price for panels and agreed to pay a $400 million criminal fine. Sharp Corp. also pleaded guilty in three separate conspiracies to fix the prices of LCD panels sold to Dell, Apple Computer and Motorola and was sentenced to pay a $120 million criminal fine.