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Hitachi Pleads Guilty To LCD Panel Price Fixing

3/10/2009 03:29:00 PM Eastern

Washington — Hitachi Displays Ltd., agreed to plead guilty and pay a $31 million fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale of TFT-LCDs sold to Dell, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.

A one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco charges Hitachi Displays Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., with participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD sold to Dell for use in desktop monitors and notebook computers from April 1, 2001, through March 31, 2004. According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Hitachi Displays has agreed to cooperate with the Department's ongoing antitrust investigation.

"Hitachi joins three other multinational companies who have admitted to their involvement in fixing prices for LCD panels sold to U.S. companies and that have already paid criminal fines totaling more than $585 million," said Scott D. Hammond, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department's antitrust division.

The department's ongoing antitrust investigation into the TFT-LCD industry has resulted in to date, more than $585 million in criminal fines have been imposed as a result of this investigation, and four individuals have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to serve jail time.

This is the fourth plea agreement by a company charged with participating in conspiracies to fix the prices for TFT-LCD. The other companies are LG Display Co., Sharp Corp. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd.

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