updated 07:30 pm EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
Former CEO cleared of charges
A US jury has found display maker AU Optronics guilty of criminally conspiring with a number of other manufacturers to artificially inflate prices of LCD panels. The conviction marks the latest affirmation of a widespread price-fixing scandal that spanned at least five years and is estimated to have cost US electronics makers billions of dollars.
Several executives were personally charged in the case, leading to the conviction of current AU Optronics vice chairman Hsuan-Bin Chen. A former executive was also found guilty, while CEO L.J. Chen and a second executive were acquitted.
Government prosecutors accused the company executives of secretly meeting with leadership from other LCD makers to agree on pricing levels and artificial production constraints. The collusion was said to have taken place in luxury Tapei hotel rooms between 2001 and 2006.
AU Optronics attorney Dennis Riordan points out that the fight is not over, arguing that jurors were not asked to determine if US price-fixing regulations apply to price-fixing schemes that are committed outside of the US.
"It's really the appeal that's going to determine what this means," Riordan said, according to quotes posted by Reuters.
The judge overseeing the case must now decide sentencing for the two guilty executives and a fine for the company.