The European Court of Justice upheld the antitrust fine issued to LG Electronics in 2012, mandating the South Korean tech giant to pay €540 million ($647 million) for being part of an industry-wide cartel that was fixing prices of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) for approximately a decade, the original equipment manufacturer said on Friday. The ultimate fine given to the Seoul-based company includes interest and will be paid within the next seven days, an LG spokesperson was quoted as saying earlier today. LG previously managed a CRT joint venture with Philips, with their operation being hit with an anti-competitive fine surpassing a billion euros and the firm's Dutch partner having previously lost its appeals to the penalty. Five more companies were charged by the European Commission for the price-fixing scandal in 2012, with their fines amounting to approximately €500 million. LG was the final appealing party in the process, whereas the remaining six companies have already exhausted their legal remedies in the case.
LG said the latest turn of events will have no impact on its existing operations and business efforts, noting that it still disagrees with the court's ruling but is left with no other option but to comply with the original fine which it deems unjust. The case was previously described by some European officials as an extreme example of "anti-competitive practices" and monopolistic behavior, with the political bloc ultimately penalizing two separate cartels comprised of seven CRT manufacturers who were manipulating prices of related technologies on the Old Continent, sharing trade secrets, and breaking numerous European antitrust laws in the process of doing so. The technology at the center of the scandal is now largely obsolete and has been replaced by more advanced solutions like LCD panels.
The European justice system has been relatively busy with antitrust cases involving foreign tech giants in recent weeks; shortly after granting Intel's appeal to a $1.3 billion fine and before ruling on the aforementioned matter, competent judicial authorities also processed Google's appeal to the largest antitrust fine in the history of the political bloc. The Alphabet-owned company is still being investigated on two separate allegations of monopolistic behavior in Europe, with officials probing its practices related to the AdWords advertising platform and Android.