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AU Optronics executive faces a second trial

US government takes its second shot
Mon Nov 26 2012, 15:16

AN EXECUTIVE of LCD maker AU Optronics will face a second trial over price-fixing allegations.

AU Optronics has already been fined $500m after being found guilty of an LCD panel price-fixing conspiracy, however an executive of the firm is set to have another day in court. Steven Leung is alleged to have been an "integral part" of the price-fixing scam and prosecutors allege he had pricing authority for LCD panels.

Leung is alleged to have been a central figure in important meetings during 2001 to 2006 and was responsible for the Dell and HP accounts. According to the US Justice Department, Leung was "effective at implementing the [price-fixing] conspiracy".

AU Optronics was the only firm prosecuted by the US Justice Department earlier this year, while its rivals including LG and Sharp pleaded guilty and were hit with a $890m fine. The firm's vice chairman and senior VP were found guilty of price-fixing back in March but the jury deadlocked on the charges against Leung.

Leung's lawyers claim that the prosecution's star witness, an AU Optronics employee, testified he did not know whether executives were meeting with competitors to set prices. The lawyers claim that the firms were meeting to discuss industry trends, which is not illegal.

The US Justice Department investigation has led to 17 executives of LCD manufacturers being charged, with 10 pleading guilty and being sentenced to prison time. µ


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