Closing Days of Criminal Antitrust Trial

computer keyboard
(via J.Franganillo)

It has come down to this,five executives of the world’s fourth-largest LCD maker want to stay out of prison.  Federal prosecutors have other ideas.  Closing arguments begin Monday over whether the executives conspired to fix the prices of LCD’s, used in everything from smart phones and laptop computers to TV screens.

The company, Taiwan’s AU Optronics Corp. is one of several originally accused in 2009 with participating in a worldwide price-fixing scheme, but AU Optronics is the only company that has taken the case to trial.

By 2010 seven companies had pleaded guilty and paid $890 million in fines.

Originally, nine Taiwanese individuals and the company were charged with engaging in price fixing between 2001 and 2006.  current trial includes two corporations and five defendants, including the company president, executive vice president, the heads of various business groups.

The indictment accuses company representatives of meeting in a Taipei hotel room to hash out an agreement to fix the price of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels, or TFT-LCDs.

The government says the price agreements accepted for the LCDs allowed them to be sold a collusive, noncompetitive prices to customers in the United States and around the world.

The indictment named Cheng Yuan Lin, chairman and CEO of Chunghwa Picture Tubes; Hsuan Bin Chen, AU Optronics  president; Hui Hsiung, executive vice president; Duk Mo Koo, executive vice president for LG. Philips; Lai-Juh Chen, director of AU Optronics desktop monitor business; Shui Lung Leung, Borlong Bai and Tsannrong Lee.

The men were charged with holding meetings to exchange production, shipping, supply, demand and pricing information and that the alleged purpose of the meetings was to fix prices.

 Case: U.S. v. AU Optronics Corp.   No. CR09-110SI

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