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LG, Sanyo, fined for price-fixing laptop batteries

US Dept of Justice throws the book, rakes in eight-figure fine

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The USA's Department of Justice (DoJ) has slapped Sanyo (a subsidiary of Panasonic), and LG Chem (part of the sprawling LG Chaebol, with fines for conspiring to fix prices for cylindrical lithium ion battery cells used in notebook computers.

The DoJ announced the fines last week, and said that between April 2007 and September 2008 LG Chem,Sanyo and as-yet-un-named “... co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by, among other things, agreeing during meetings and conversations to price cylindrical lithium ion battery cells for use in notebook computer battery packs to customers at predetermined levels and issuing price quotations to customers in accordance with those agreements.”

The firms also “collected and exchanged information for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices and took steps to conceal the conspiracy.”

LG Chem's been forced to cough up $US1.056m and SANYO's writing a cheque for $10.731m. Both have admitted criminal conduct.

Those fines pale beside the $45.8 Panasonic has also been forced to pay for its part in an auto-parts fixing conspiracy. ®

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