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AU Optronics executive guilty in LCD price-fixing case

19 december 2012, 12:08
0
©REUTERS
©REUTERS
A US jury on Tuesday found a former senior manager at Taiwan-based AU Optronics Corp. guilty of taking part in a global scheme to rig prices of liquid crystal display screens, AFP reports.

Shiu Lung Leung faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for his crime, according to the US Department of Justice.

Marketplace rivals fixed the prices of LCD panels during monthly meetings held secretly at hotel conference rooms, karaoke bars and tea rooms around Taiwan, according to prosecutors.

A trial in San Francisco ended in March with AUO executives Hsuan Bin Chen and Hui Hsiung convicted for their roles in a conspiracy between late 2001 and late 2006 to rig prices of thin film transistor LCD panels.

A judge fined the company $500 million for taking part in what prosecutors called the "most serious price-fixing" case in US history.

Officials said that the fine matched the largest ever imposed on a company for violating US anti-trust laws.

A mistrial was declared in a portion of the proceedings involving Leung, and the verdict in his case was the outcome of a three-week retrial.

"This international price-fixing conspiracy impacted countless American consumers by raising the price of computer monitors, notebooks and televisions containing LCD panels," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond.

The global LCD market was valued at $70 billion annually by the end of the alleged conspiracy, and companies that wound up paying inflated prices for screens included Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard, according to prosecutors.

As a result of the investigation, eight companies have pleaded guilty or been convicted and have been sentenced to pay criminal fines totaling more than $1.39 billion, according to the Department of Justice.

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