LCD price fixing trial heats up

A federal grand jury in San Francisco has decided that there is enough evidence against a former executive of a Taiwan TFT-LCD producer to stand trial.

Hsin-Tsung Wang has been accused of participating in a global conspiracy to fix prices of TFT-LCD panels.

According to the Department of Justice, Wang, a resident of Taiwan and the former vice president of sales and marketing of Chi Mei Optoelectronics participated in a conspiracy from at least as early as September 14, 2001, and continuing at least until December 1, 2006.

They agreed to fix prices of TFT-LCD panels during secret meetings and issued price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached.

Wang is also alleged to have exchanged information on sales of TFT-LCD panels so the illegal deal could be policed and enforced.

So far 20 executives and eight companies have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing in the LCD industry.

The DoJ has collected $890 million in criminal fines.

Wang was brought to book under the Sherman Act. He could be jailed for 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. We guess the Sherman Act does not mean being run over by a small World War II tank, but after a decade’s porridge and a million dollar fine you might feel like you have been.