TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The head of Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group questioned the European Union decision to exempt Samsung Electronics Co. from price-fixing fines for makers of LCD panels, accusing his South Korean rival of being the cartel's main culprit.
Terry Gou's comments came after the EU competition watchdog fined South Korea's LG Display and four Taiwanese manufacturers euro649 million ($863 million) Wednesday for fixing prices on the flat-screen panels between 2001 and 2006.
Samsung, the world's biggest LCD maker, also participated in the price fixing but escaped a fine because it blew the whistle on the cartel, according to the European Commission.
Foxconn does not make LCD panels, but Gou is a major shareholder of Taiwan's Chimei Innolux Corp., which was fined euro300 million in the case.
Three other Taiwanese makers — AU Optronics, Chunghwa and HannStar — were fined euro116.8 million, euro9 million and euro8.1 million, respectively.
The world's second-biggest LCD maker, South Korea's LG Display, was fined euro215 million.
The fines targeted price-fixing for LCD panels used in flat screens for televisions and computer monitors.
Speaking to reporters late Friday, Gou said Samsung and LG Display were leading in the price fixing, and Taiwanese makers were only collaborating with them.
"If the No. 1 and No. 2 makers did not lead in fixing prices, would Taiwan's No. 3 and No. 4 carry any weight?" he asked.
Gou suggested that Samsung only informed authorities of the improprieties as part of a scheme to beat its Taiwanese rivals.
South Korean firms "are resorting to all means possible in order to crush us," he said.
Samsung spokesman Jason Kim had no response to Gou's statements when contacted Saturday, saying only "Samsung Electronics respects the EU's decision."
The European Commission said the LCD makers met about 60 times between October 2001 and February 2006, mostly in Taiwanese hotels, for what they called "the Crystal meetings," the commission said. In addition to fixing prices, they also exchanged information on their future production plans and other business plans, it said.
The cartel affected LCD panel sales worth about euro7 billion in the European market, the commission said.
Gou said the EU fine was levied without giving Chimei a chance to defend itself, noting that the firm will hold its action pending the EU's clarification.
Au Optronics has said it will appeal, while Chunghwa and HannStar have yet to decide what to do.