Chi Mei Executive Agrees to Plead Guilty and Serve Jail Time for Participating in Global LCD Price-Fixing Conspiracy
A Second Chi Mei Executive Pleads Guilty and Is Sentenced for His Role in the Same Conspiracy
WASHINGTON — An executive from Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corporation (Chi Mei) has agreed to plead guilty and serve 14 months in a U.S. jail for participating in a global conspiracy to fix prices of Thin-Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels, and a second executive pleaded guilty and was sentenced for his role in the same conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced today.
According to separate one-count felony charges filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Jau-Yang "J.Y." Ho and Chu-Hsiang "James" Yang conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of TFT-LCD panels. Ho, a resident of Taiwan and the former president of Chi Mei, participated in the conspiracy from on or about Sept. 14, 2001, to on or about Dec. 1, 2006. Yang, a resident of Taiwan and the former director of sales for Chi Mei, participated in the conspiracy from April 1, 2004, to on or about Dec. 1, 2006.
Under his plea agreement, Ho, who was charged today, has agreed to serve 14 months in jail, to pay a $50,000 criminal fine and to assist the department in its ongoing TFT-LCD investigation. Ho's plea agreement is subject to court approval.
Yang pleaded guilty today to charges filed on April 23, 2010. According to the plea agreement, Yang has agreed to assist the department in its ongoing TFT-LCD investigation. Additionally, Judge Susan Illston sentenced Yang today to serve nine months in jail and to pay a $25,000 criminal fine.
Court documents charge that Ho and Yang participated in a conspiracy in which the participants met and agreed to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at predetermined levels. The participants in that conspiracy also issued price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached and exchanged information on the sales of TFT-LCD panels for the purpose of monitoring adherence to the agreed-upon prices, the department said.
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. Companies directly affected by the LCD price-fixing conspiracy are some of the largest computer and television manufacturers in the world, including Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard.
As a result of this investigation, six companies, including Ho and Yang's employer, Chi Mei, have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to pay criminal fines totaling more than $860 million. Additionally, including today's charges, 11 executives have been charged in the department's ongoing investigation.
Both Ho and Yang are charged with violating the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
Today's charges are the result of a joint investigation by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division's San Francisco Field Office and the FBI in San Francisco.
Anyone with information concerning illegal conduct in the TFT-LCD industry is urged to call the Antitrust Division's San Francisco Field Office at 415-436-6660 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.