Taiwanese LCD manufacturer guilty of price fixing

U.S. jury finds AU Optronics guilty of fixing prices of LCD panels, which prosecutors say costs U.S. economy "billions of dollars". Manufacturer faces maximum fine of US$1 billion.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Taiwanese liquid crystal display manufacturer, AU Optronics, has been found guilty by a U.S. jury of price-fixing charges in conspiracy with other manufacturers. The world's number four LCD maker now faces a maximum fine of US$1 billion, while two company executives also have been found guilty.

According to a Reuters report Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors accused company executives of meeting more than 60 times at luxury hotels to fix prices of LCD panels, an act which they said costs the U.S. economy "billions of dollars". The company  now faces the maximum US$1 billion fine, noted the U.S. Justice Department in the report.

AU Optronics said it would appeal the verdict and any fine, the report stated.

Two executives from the company were also found guilty of the charges, but former chief executive L.J. Chen and another executive were found not guilty. The company subsequently issued a statement saying that while it was "gratified" for the acquittals against the executives, it was "deeply disappointed" by the guilty verdict.

Other manufacturers, including LG Electronics, had already pleaded guilty in the LCD price-fixing investigation, while Samsung Electronics cut an early deal to avoid prosecution, Reuters added.

A separate ZDNet Asia report noted that Samsung paid the most out of seven manufacturers which chose to settle the dispute, forking out US$240 million of the total US$553 million contributed by all parties. The companies would also be setting up antitrust compliance programs as part of that deal, while US$501 million would go toward a refund program for consumers, it added.

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