US indicts former Chi Mei exec for price-fixing

The China Post news staff

A former executive of Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corporation was indicted by a U.S. grand jury for participating in a price-fixing conspiracy of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD), the U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Wang Hsin-tsung, Chi Mei’s former vice president of sales and marketing, was charged by a federal grand jury in San Francisco “with participating in the conspiracy from at least as early as Sept. 14, 2001, and continuing at least until Dec. 1, 2006.” Wang and other conspirators attempted to fix prices “during secret meetings and issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached,” the Justice Department pointed out in its statement. Wang also allegedly exchanged information on TFT-LCD panel sales in order to monitor and enforce “adherence to the agreed-upon prices.”

The charged price-fixing conspiracy directly impacted some of the global technology giants including Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard, the statement highlighted. Wang is the ninth Taiwanese executive indicted for involvement of what the Justice Department called a “global conspiracy.” If convicted he might face a maximum penalty of 10-year imprisonment and a US$1 million fine, the U.S. Justice Department said, the Justice Department said. The United Evening Daily quoted sources as saying that by mentioning the maximum penalty, the U.S. was pressing Wang and Chi Mei to enter guilty plea. Wang was not the highest ranking Chi Mei executives to be indicted in the case but the Justice Department statement stressed the possible heavy sentence as a penalty if Wang does not plea guilty, the United Evening Daily said. Up to now four executives from Chi Mei are charged for price-fixing. Former Chi Mei president Ho Jau-yang and sales executive James Yang pleaded guilty in April while Huang Wen-Hung, Chi Mei’s former director of sales, pleaded guilty in July. Ho agreed to serve 14 months in jail and to pay a US$50,000 fine, Yang and Huang both agreed to nine-month jail terms and each to pay US$25,000 in fines. Chi Mei yesterday said it will not comment on Wang’s ongoing case.