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Taiwanese exec to serve 14 months for LCD price fixing

A former head of Chi Mei agrees to plead guilty after a US investigation pulls in at least six companies for colluding to set prices for LCD panels
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

A former head of a Taiwanese LCD panel company will serve 14 months in jail for price fixing, as the result of an on-going US Department of Justice investigation.

Jau-Yang Ho, ex-president of Chi Mei Optoelectronics, was charged on Friday with conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display (TFT-LCD) panels from around 14 September, 2001 to approximately 1 December, 2006. He has agreed to plead guilty to the charges.

Ho also agreed to serve 14 months in jail, to pay a $50,000 (£32,500) fine and to assist the Justice Department in its TFT-LCD investigation. The plea agreement is subject to court approval, said the department in a statement.

Another former Chi Mei executive, Chu-Hsiang Yang, who was director of sales, was sentenced on Friday to nine months in prison and to pay a fine of $25,000.

Ho and Yang were part of a conspiracy of at least six companies where participants met and agreed prices of TFT-LCD panels. The conspirators colluded on guidelines for price quotations, according to the DoJ. They also exchanged information on the sales of TFT-LCD panels to check whether the other conspirators were keeping to the agreed-upon prices, it added.

Six companies — Sharp, LG, Chunghwa, Hitachi, Epson and Chi Mei Optoelectronics — have so far agreed to plead guilty to LCD price fixing, a DoJ spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. The spokeswoman declined to comment on whether more companies had been implicated in the conspiracy.

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