- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - A company that manufactures LCD panels has agreed to pay the state of Washington $13 million to resolve claims it participated in a price-fixing scheme.

LG Display will pay the amount to resolve claims that it violated Washington antitrust laws in the manufacture of LCD panels used in televisions, cellphones and computer monitors, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Tuesday. The LCD panels can account for up to 80 percent of the cost of the devices.

A group of LCD companies formed a cartel to fix prices from 1998 to 2006, forcing consumers to pay higher prices, Ferguson said. The U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges against the companies, and Washington state filed 20 civil suits in 2010.

According to the lawsuits, the companies exchanged price and output information, then set prices for LCD panels and products with the aim of manipulating the market.

LG Display did not admit to allegations in the lawsuit. But the settlement includes helping to develop programs to make sure price fixing doesn’t happen again, Ferguson said.

Washington state reached a settlement with Hitachi in 2012. That company agreed to pay the state $5.2 million. The lawsuits against the other companies are scheduled to go to trial in April.

Ferguson spokesman Peter Lavallee said officials plan to wait and see what happens with the state’s other antitrust lawsuits before deciding how the funds could be distributed to consumers.

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Follow Martha Bellisle on Twitter at https://twitter.com/marthabellisle

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