28 August 2009 | Allie Anderson
Japanese electronics manufacturer Epson Imaging Devices has agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of $26 million (£15.9 million) for its part in a price-fixing scandal, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced.
Epson Imaging Devices (which was known as Sanyo Epson Imaging Devices at the time of the offence) is charged on one count of fixing the price of LCD display panels supplied to Motorola for use in the production of Razr mobile phones.
During Motorola's procurement of the parts between 2005 and 2006, Epson Imaging Devices allegedly entered into discussions with other unnamed vendors and submitted a bid in line with the pre-determined prices.
The charge, filed earlier this week, is the result of a joint investigation by the DoJ's antitrust division and the FBI into the supply of LCD panels, which dates back to last year.
As part of the ongoing investigation, four companies were fined last year for fixing the prices of the same type of LCD displays.
LG Display, Sharp Corporation, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Hitachi Displays all pleaded guilty to separate LCD bid rigging scams and were ordered to pay penalties of up to $400 million (£244 million). Nine executives have also been charged in connection with the probe.
The latest plea agreement is subject to US court approval. Epson Imaging Devices has agreed to cooperate with the DoJ's ongoing investigations.