The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a $1 billion criminal fine against AU Optronics for its alleged involvement in a liquid crystal display (LCD) price fixing scheme that took place from 2001 to 2006. In addition to the hefty company fine, the DoJ also wants two convicted company executives to each serve 10 years in prison and pay $1 million in fines.
"These defendants and AUO’s subsidiary, AU Optronics
Corporation America, were central figures in the most serious price-fixing cartel ever
prosecuted by the United States. Only these sentences could possibly reflect the seriousness of
this offense or provide adequate deterrence," the DoJ said in a court document.
AU Optronics was allegedly part of a price fixing scandal that also included LG Display, Sharp, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes. All except for AU Optronics previously pleaded guilty to related charges, resulting in combined fines of more than $890 million and criminal charges against 22 individuals.
AU Optronics isn't denying involvement, but says the most it should be fined is $285 million, and that it should actually have to pay much less.
Companies involved in the price fixing scheme are said to have met in secret at places like karaoke bars, tea rooms, and hotel conference rooms to agree on artificially inflated panel pricing.