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Trial of alleged AUO price-fixing case to start in January

Trial of alleged AUO price-fixing case to start in January

Los Angeles, Dec. 28 (CNA) A trial of alleged price-fixing conducted by Taiwanese flat panel maker AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) is scheduled to begin in the United States in January, sources close to the case said Wednesday. After more than a year of investigation and negotiations, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has decided to hear the anti-trust case Jan. 9. AUO, which has repeatedly denied any involvement and has vowed not to plead guilty, declined to comment on the trial. AUO, a subsidiary in Houston, and six of its former and present senior executives, were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in June 2010 on allegations that the company conspired to fix flat screen prices with other industry rivals in Asia between September 2001 and December 2006. Three of the six indicated AUO executives - Chen Hsuan-bin, Chen Lai-juh and Hsiung Hui, have been barred from leaving the U.S. since August 2010 following a hearing in which they pleaded their case. Prosecutors said there was a flight risk because all three live and work in Taiwan, which has no extradition agreement with the U.S. The three are not allowed to travel outside the U.S. without the permission of the U.S. Pretrial Services Agency, but are allowed to move around the country and carry out their duties in Taiwan via teleconference. The sources said that after the order barring the three executives from leaving the U.S., AUO and the Justice Department launched negotiations. The talks failed to yield any consensus and the court decided to go to trial, the sources said. AUO, which is one of several Asian flat panel makers indicted in the price-fixing case, claims it has always abided by the law and has had no need to become involved in unfair practices. It called for release of the three executives. Other Asian manufacturers, including Taiwan-based Chmei Innolux Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd., South Korea's LGD Display and Sharp of Japan, are among the other companies that have already pleaded guilty in plea bargains with prosecutors and have agreed to pay massive fines and damages. (By Wu Oscar Wu, Pan Chi-i and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-04-23 14:44 GMT+08:00