US demanding harsh penalties for price fixers


by Laura Matovina

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that a Taiwanese company pay a $1 billion fine, and two former top executives each serve 10 years in prison for their role in what government officials call the most serious price-fixing cartel ever prosecuted by the U.S.

The proposed sentences would be the stiffest penalty ever meted out for price-fixing convictions if a federal judge adopts the DOJ's position Thursday.

Prosecutors contend the sentences are necessary to punish a company that unfairly forced U.S. consumers to pay billions more than they should have for electronics and to deter others from engaging in price fixing.

A jury convicted Au Optronics Corp. and the executives with participating in conspiracy with seven other companies to fix the prices of LCD screens.


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