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EU fines 5 companies for being 'LCD cartel'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 09 Dec 2010 12:47 User comments (15)

EU fines 5 companies for being 'LCD cartel' The European Union has fined five companies $863 million USD this week for being part of an 'LCD cartel' that helped fix prices from 2001 through 2006.
Samsung, the sixth LCD maker in the scheme and the largest in the world, blew the whistle on the other companies and therefore avoided a fine from the European Commission.

LG Display, the second largest LCD maker in the world, was fined $284 million and accepted the fine saying: "LG Display acknowledges the wrongful acts of the past and respects the European Commission's regulatory authority in this regard."

The company did say it may appeal the ruling if it finds any "procedural issues with the investigation."

Execs for each of the companies met in Taiwanese hotels "at least 60 times" during the time period, dubbing the exchanges "the Crystal meetings." During the meeting, the execs would work on fixing prices while sharing information on future production plans.

For the five year period, the cartel affected LCD panel sales worth about $9.24 billion in the European market.

The other companies and their fines:

Chimei InnoLux Corp - $395 million
AU Optronics Corp - $153 million
Chunghwa Picture Tubes - $11.8 million
HannStar Display Corp - $10.7 million


In 2008, LG Display paid a $400 million fine to the U.S. Justice Department for the same price fixing scheme.

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15 user comments

19.12.2010 14:15

Quote:
...and therefore avoided a fine from the European Commission.
So wait, did Samsung blow the whistle to cover its ass because they had been involved and at risk of being exposed, or they found out the other companies had been involved and weren't involved themselves?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Dec 2010 @ 14:17

29.12.2010 17:22

sounds like they were covering their ass

39.12.2010 17:28
acidod
Inactive

Originally posted by Notcow:
Quote:
...and therefore avoided a fine from the European Commission.
So wait, did Samsung blow the whistle to cover its ass because they had been involved and at risk of being exposed, or they found out the other companies had been involved and weren't involved themselves?
Quote:
Samsung, the sixth LCD maker in the scheme

Quote:
blew the whistle on the other companies and therefore avoided a fine from the European Commission
They were involved according to the news article.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Dec 2010 @ 17:31

49.12.2010 23:10

¿Costumers who bought a LCD from those companies during that period will get a refund? If not, then ¿what is the point? Those fines are the equivalent of slaping a kid's hand for bad behavior, not real harm done when those companies made billions of dollars, from selling fixed overpriced products. Let's be honest, if the opportunity arrises they will do it again, and certanly it's unfair that costumers will never see a penny of that money. If they really want to punish those companies for such behavior, they should prohibit their products from being sold at stores. At the risk of massive losses and bankrupcy, any company will think twice before doing such thing ever again.

510.12.2010 14:28

ematrix

$863 million is funding for several handy public infrastructure projects (the sort of thing the EU is particularly good at and for).

Sure those companies (or some others) can try & do it all again but the law will be there ready to prosecute them & fine them if they do.

The idea that almost $1 billion is 'nothing' or will do the public no good in the end is absurd.
Many many places across Europe have done extremely well from EU grants & funding.
Fibre broadband for instance has come to my town years earlier than my phone company planned thanks to just one EU funded project.

610.12.2010 15:36

Originally posted by Interestx:
ematrix

$863 million is funding for several handy public infrastructure projects (the sort of thing the EU is particularly good at and for).

Sure those companies (or some others) can try & do it all again but the law will be there ready to prosecute them & fine them if they do.

The idea that almost $1 billion is 'nothing' or will do the public no good in the end is absurd.
Many many places across Europe have done extremely well from EU grants & funding.
Fibre broadband for instance has come to my town years earlier than my phone company planned thanks to just one EU funded project.
A true Socialist, they should have given it directly back to the consumers who got screwed instead of redistributing the wealth and pocketing a fair amount themselves, most probably.

Price fixing has been around forever and you can bet they’ll continue to do it even after getting busted, as it is almost impossible to catch and prosecute companies for that.

711.12.2010 3:13

Interestx

If Samsung hadn't blown the wistle, neither the EU nor the public wouldn't have known for sure about this, certanly goverments weren't regulating it to take actions sooner, therefore how can anyone expect they are doing their job to regulate and prosecute such things? Certanly they weren't bother about it, until some "deep throat" spilled the beans, because if they did, then consumers wouldn't be screwed so often.

I agree with Mr. Movies, the problem with goverments collecting those fines, is that nobody really knows for sure how and by whom will that money will be spent, or if all consumers will enjoy the benefits equally, and to be fair, consumers (not goverments) got screwed and they should be taken into consideration, by giving them a choice, either to recibe the compesation or donate it to public funds (even better with a tax deduction incentive)

PS: $863 million USD in total for price fixing their products for a 5-6 years period, is really not a big punishement for companies who make billions of dollars annually each, it's like pulling a tootsie roll from the candyman, no real harm done. Prohibit the candyman from selling his sweets, and that will teach him better.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Dec 2010 @ 3:24

813.12.2010 13:29

Mr-Movies

Yeah, cos without the legal framework the EU (and the subsequent incorporated EU law in that of the member states) these things would just have happened, eh?

Be serious.
Samsung turned 'states evidence' because they knew the severity of the offense and the likely consequences.
That's hardly uncommon in legal cases with several defendants.

You can dismiss this sort of thing & call it whatever you like but the fact is I have a 38mb net connection.
This is a hell of a lot more use to me than a payout some years down the line that would maybe (if I was lucky & jumped through all the required hoops in time) have seen me get $50 or equivalent.

ematrix

In this case maybe yes, in others absolutely not.

The fact is that the EU does have a very long track record of infrastructural investment all over Europe, from bridges, to motorways to marinas to internet infrastructure.

You guys can nit-pick & quibble all you like but the fact is most of us in Europe prefer the consumer protection and minimum standards the EU guarantees us
(2yr, 3yr & 5yr product warranties are quite standard & normal for us without buying extended warranties, for instance).

If we did not have the EU we would most likely be fighting to keep mere 1yr guarantees or the ridiculous situation of 30 day & 90 day guarantees which have been common in the USA.
No thanks.
The EU is at least some defense against over-sized international corporations which continue to seek (as we can see here) to flout the law.

913.12.2010 14:50
947omm
Unverified new user

I would boycott Samsung products. They whistle blew other cartel members just to achieve monopoly over the LCD industry. Can't have that. We need competition. I thought EU is trying to prevent monopoly? I guess Samsung also tricked them real good. The ring leader of an organized crime group can not be trusted if the leader turns his own partners to the police. Down with Samsung!

1013.12.2010 18:00

@Interestx
Please now, with your argument of they turned state’s evidence because they knew the severity is ridicules since if that was true they wouldn’t have committed the crime in the first place. The fact is that for the most part they will get away with it and it is almost impossible to catch them. This has been going on since the Roman times and I can only think of one other time that it has been busted. Most probably the EU made a case against one of leaders of Samsung, viable or not, and that person panicked and became informant. Even with that it is extremely hard to tie all of the other players to the crime without years of taping them in secret meetings. If you need better proof of this you can watch a movie from the US where a big firm ADL (Archer Daniels Midland) of the agribusiness was price fixing across the world getting together with the Japanize, but a key member of ADL was suspected and eventually turned informant. The name of this movie is called “The Informant! (2009)” if you are interested.

If the EU was truly worried what others would think on how they regulate they would have gave the money back to the people that got screwed not pocket the money and run, but they are corrupt and they are Socialist so that wasn’t going to happen. Your personal problems with your ISP provider is your choice, the little bit of choice you may have, and has no bearing on what the EU should have done with the money they retrieved in the case. Ematrix coined that well!

“The fact is that the EU does have a very long track record of infrastructural investment all over Europe, from bridges, to motorways to marinas to internet infrastructure.”

All government have this nothing new and not a reason to extort money for this as it is part of the taxing systems already in place, crime shouldn’t be used for this too!

Sure the EU has done some good, no doubt about it, but they aren’t great nor is the direction the Republic of the US is moving towards, Socialism. We use to be different, more fair, more free, and a power house. People wanted to come here because it was so good but now especially with the poor president we have we are trying to be like the rest of the world moving towards socialism instead of remaining the Republic that made us great. It is very sad but we have way too much corruption here and it won’t be long and we will be part of the EU, I do hope not though.

We too have minimum standards and have had them for quite some time. I almost never buy extended warranties because the manufactures warranty is plenty and the products are very good. People here in the US buy warranties on top of the manufacture warranty which is wasting their money, but we are in the scare tactics way of big business and it works very well for corporate America. Heck people here are scared to let their children play outside because of the scare tactics the media uses, it’s a shame that we are that gullible really. Most warranties in the US are 1 year to 5 years or longer, your ignorance of 30 to 90 days is only a store policy and even that is wrong as electronics typically are 14 days at places like Best Buy. We use to have store policies that would allow returns for longer periods and without receipts but people abused that and thieves loved it so policies obviously needed to change.

@947omm
Samsung doesn’t have a monopoly now in the LCD flat panel market all the other players are still thriving even after paying fines that the EU pocketed. If you want to boycott you should boycott all of the companies in this price fixing situation, of course you wouldn’t be buying a flat panel TV anytime soon though.

1113.12.2010 22:42

947omm

Quote:
I would boycott Samsung products. They whistle blew other cartel members just to achieve monopoly over the LCD industry.
No they did not.
If you honestly believe that that was their intent then they failed.
We do have a highly competitive market within the EU.

Mr-Movies

Quote:
watch a movie from the US where a big firm ADL (Archer Daniels Midland) of the agribusiness
What relevance has one instance of price-fixing in a completely different setting (both the market & countries) got to do with it?
I saw that film some time ago and as amusing and interesting as it is it is nothing like the same as what happened here.

The fact is 'whistleblowers' whether acting in pure self-interest or otherwise are a well documented and known part of business and political life just about everywhere.

Quote:
If the EU was truly worried what others would think on how they regulate they would have gave the money back to the people that got screwed not pocket the money and run
Er no, that is not how it works.
Rather than hand out tiny sums many years down the line the EU operates this policy and uses fines paid for infrastructure projects.

Quote:
they are Socialist
If you honestly believe this then you clearly have no idea what the term 'socialist' actually means.
You really ought to stop listening to US media which simply applies this term (and a couple of others, like 'liberal' and 'Marxist' and 'Nazi') without any genuine relevance to their actual meaning.

There is not a single genuine 'socialist' Gov in the EU
(where the people - or the Gov - own and control more than 50% of the means of production)
and the EU itself is not 'socialist' by any credible definition of the term.

Sadly in the US today the word basically has come to mean 'bad' and pretty much any policy which is not one US conservatives approve of.
But that is not the same thing at all.

Quote:
All government have this nothing new and not a reason to extort money for this as it is part of the taxing systems already in place, crime shouldn’t be used for this too!
Well again I say look at what this actually means.
The EU has funded various enormous pan-European improvement projects especially over the last 3 or 4 decades in relation to the poorer nations of Europe, transforming the national fabric, economies and living standards of countries like Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Greece to name the most recent & obvious changed nations.

It is now perfroming the same huge transformative work on the new entrant central & eastern European nations.
If you have no idea of what Spain, Portugal etc etc were like 20 - 30yrs ago then you simply cannot appreciate the vast actual change.

The fact is this was all undetaken on such a huge level that those individual coiuntries could never have financed this themselves.
Europe as a collective did - to the subsequent & undeniable benefit of us all.

1213.12.2010 22:54

Interestx

Your bias has clouded your judgment and you will never see the light. No further need to argue this with you as it would be a waste of time. You seem to make too much up and fail to see the obvious, too bad...

1314.12.2010 19:09

I'm an American fiscal conservative and I agree with InterestX on his point that our political discourse has been poisoned, hijacked, and redefined by the liberal right (if you don't understand the difference between using a big "L" and a little "L" then don't bother responding). I actually suspect you might be a neoliberal, Mr. Movies.

...but I know classical definitions of this stuff which are way more nuanced and built upon over decades are harder to grasp than the recent "edutainment" we're fed by right wing media.

1414.12.2010 21:46

Originally posted by IguanaC64:
I'm an American fiscal conservative and I agree with InterestX on his point that our political discourse has been poisoned, hijacked, and redefined by the liberal right (if you don't understand the difference between using a big "L" and a little "L" then don't bother responding). I actually suspect you might be a neoliberal, Mr. Movies.

...but I know classical definitions of this stuff which are way more nuanced and built upon over decades are harder to grasp than the recent "edutainment" we're fed by right wing media.
Fiscal Conservative that basically means you are the big L but as a typical Democrat you think you can have it both ways in any situation. Just because you may be cheap and vote as a Republican doesn't make you one, your just conflicted!

Just like Interestx your way off base, but like I said people like you and Interestx will never see the light your brain pans are just skewed in the wrong direction. They say ignorance is bliss and I think their right.

1514.12.2010 22:32

I'm watching!!!

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