US justice authorities hit a Japanese-Korean producer of optical disk drives with a $21.1 million fine for bid-rigging and price fixing, the Justice Department announced.
Hitachi-LG Data Storage, a joint venture of Hitachi Ltd. and LG Electronics, agreed to plead guilty in the case, which was filed Friday in the US district court in San Francisco, the department said in a statement.
Hitachi-LG was charged with 14 counts of conspiring with other companies to rig bids and fix prices on sales of DC-ROM, DVD-ROM and other similar optical disk drives to computer makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft between 2004 and 2009.
"As part of the conspiracy, Hitachi-LG Data Storage and co-conspirators issued price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached and exchanged information on the sales of optical disk drives to monitor and enforce adherence to the agreed-upon prices," the Justice Department said in a statement.
The conspiracies "undermined competition and innovation in the high tech industry," acting assistant attorney general Sharis Pozen said.
Other companies involved in the price-fixing were not named.
It was the latest in a series of fines levied against foreign companies involved in price fixing in the Untied States.
On Thursday, Pozen announced a huge $200 million fine against Japanese auto parts firm Furukawa Electric on similar charges.
Three Furukawa executives were also given 6-18 month prison sentences.
(c) 2011 AFP