Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A DOJ Press Release reports that "Epson Imaging Devices Corporation (Epson) agreed to plead guilty and pay a $26 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display panels (TFT-LCD) sold to Motorola Inc." It also states that "[a]ccording to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Epson, a subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation, participated in a conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels sold to Motorola for use in Razr mobile phones from the fall of 2005 to the middle of 2006. According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Epson has agreed to cooperate with the Department’s ongoing antitrust investigation." It is a common practice for companies to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation of individuals. Many a plea or deferred prosecution agreement with a cooperation clause has led to later indictments of individuals within or associated with the company.
The Epson Imaging company website acknowledges this agreement (see here) and states that "[t]he United States Department of Justice has been investigating the pricing practices of the world’s major TFT-LCD manufacturers since December 2006, and Epson Imaging has fully cooperated in this investigation. After careful consideration of the law, the facts and other factors, Epson Imaging has decided that the best course of action was to conclude the agreement with the United States Department of Justice." The company also states that "In consideration of the inconvenience caused to its customers, Epson Imaging’s directors will voluntarily adjust their remuneration."