Feds demand $1B from LCD maker for price-fixing

After a jury found AU Optronics guilty of colluding with other companies to fix pricing on LCD panels, prosecutors are seeking a fine of $1 billion and 10 years prison time for two former executives.

The U.S. Department of Justice has reined down hard on a Taiwanese LCD screen maker in court, demanding $1 billion in fines and significant jail time for two former executives.

According to the Associated Press, AU Optronics carried out an extensive price-fixing scheme that feds said was the most significant ever prosecuted in the U.S. During a federal trial in March, the jury found both AU Optronics and two of its executives, Hsuan Bin Chen and Hui Hsiung, guilty of price-fixing.

The original complaints for the case alleged that the company worked to create an international "cartel" to set and control the pricing of LCD panels. In addition to the $1 billion in fines, federal prosecutors are also seeking 10-year prison sentences for Chen and Hsiung.

AU Optronics' lawyers asked the court for a reduced fine of $285 million and much lower prison sentences. It's not yet known how the judge will rule.

This is latest in a long line of legal proceedings on the matter. Seven LCD manufacturers, including Samsung and Sharp, allegedly involved in the scheme agreed to a settlement of $553 million last December. Of that sum, about $501 million was set to go toward a refund program for consumers, and about $37 million was to be doled out to governments and others involved for legal damages.

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