Following an eight-week trial, a federal jury convicted the largest Taiwan LCD producer, its Houston-based subsidiary, and their two former top executives for their participation in a five-year conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels sold worldwide. The jury found that the ill-gotten gain to the conspirators as a result of the fixed sales in the United States was at least $500 million.
In addition to these convictions, seven companies have pleaded guilty to charges arising out of the department's ongoing investigation and have been sentenced to pay criminal fines totalling more than $890 million. Further, 17 additional executives have been charged; ten of which have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to serve a combined total of 2,681 days in prison.
The Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division said: "The jury's decision to hold not only the companies but also their top executives accountable for their anticompetitive actions should send a strong deterrent message to board rooms around the world."
TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices. By the end of the conspiracy period, the worldwide market for TFT-LCD panels was valued at $70 billion annually. Companies directly affected by the LCD price-fixing conspiracy include some of the largest computer manufacturers in the world, including Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard.
The companies and executives were indicted following a joint investigation by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the FBI. The companies and executives allegedly fixed prices during monthly meetings with their competitors held secretly in hotel conference rooms, karaoke bars and tea rooms around Taiwan.