* Government also asks for 10-yr jail terms for 2 AU execs
and $1 mln fines
* AU says in filing $1 bln fine would threaten its
existence, declines more comment
Sept 12 The U.S. government has asked a federal
court to impose a $1 billion fine on Taiwan's AU Optronics Corp
over its role in a cartel that fixed the prices of
liquid crystal display (LCD) panels over a number of years, a
court document showed.
The government has also asked the court to sentence company
executives H.B. Chen and Hui Hsiung to 10 years in prison and
fines of $1 million be levied on them, according to a sentencing
memorandum prepared by the U.S. Justice Department ahead of a
hearing set for Sept. 20.
AU Optronics, the world's No.4 LCD maker, was found guilty
in March of fixing prices for the screens after an investigation
into an alleged price-fixing cartel operating between 1999 and
2006 involving a number of companies. It had been the sole Asian
LCD maker to plead not guilty.
The Justice Department said at the time that AU could face a
maximum fine of $1 billion.
One of the other defendants, South Korea's LG Display Inc
, agreed to pay a $400 million fine in 2008.
U.S. prosecutors accused AU Optronics executives of meeting
more than 60 times at luxury hotels to fix panel prices, saying
the conspiracy cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
"AU Optronics and its executives conspired with the other
major makers of TFT-LCD panels to systematically fix prices. The
conspiracy lasted five years, ending only when the FBI raided
their offices and a federal grand jury subpoenaed the
conspirators' records," the Justice Department said in the
In a separate sentencing memorandum filing, AU Optronics
said it should face a fine of no more than $285 million.
"The fine pressed by the government would threaten the very
existence of AU Optronics," the company said. AU declined
The case is in re United States of America vs AU Optronics,
Case No. 09-cr-00110, U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California, San Francisco division.