Did you buy a computer notebook, computer monitor, or big-screen TV anytime from late 2001 to 2006? If you did, odds are that you paid too much for it because of an international criminal conspiracy to fix the prices of the LCD (liquid crystal display) panels used in these products.
AU Optronics—the largest Taiwanese producer and seller of LCD panels—and two of its former top executives were sentenced for their roles in this conspiracy. The company was ordered to pay a $500 million criminal fine, and the executives each received three years in federal prison, according to a FBI news update. AU Optronics is the eighth company convicted as a result of a joint FBI-Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division effort to uncover this worldwide price-fixing conspiracy.
The FBI became involved in the case in mid-2006 at the request of DOJ’s Antitrust Division, and Bureau investigators joined forces with Antitrust Division prosecutors.
In addition to the criminal fine levied on AU Optronics and the sentencing of two former executives, the company was ordered to implement an internal compliance program, hire an independent corporate compliance monitor, and take out ads in U.S. and Taiwanese newspapers publicizing the criminal sanctions taken against it.
[Image Courtesy: AU Optronics]