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AUO might appeal U.S. court ruling (update)

2012/09/21 14:55:44

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Taiwan-based panel maker AU Optronics Co. (AUO) expressed regret Friday over a court ruling in the U.S. that the company colluded with other flat panel makers to fix prices and said it intends to appeal.

"We are dissatisfied with the judgment that failed to prove our innocence and integrity," said AUO President Paul Peng at a press briefing in Taipei following the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The court fined the company US$500 million, payable within three years, while AUO Vice Chairman Chen Hsuan-bin and former Vice President Hsiung Hui were both sentenced to three years in prison.

AUO was charged by the U.S. government in June 2010 with participating in price-fixing practices on flat panel screens between 2001 and 2006.

While the other companies targeted by the U.S. authorities, including Chimei Innolux Corp. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes, pleaded guilty in plea bargains and paid fines to settle their cases, AUO decided to take its case to court.

"The trial demonstrates that there are certain important, yet unresolved, legal questions surrounding this matter," AUO said in a statement released that same day.

AUO said it hopes an appellate court will clarify these "important legal issues."

Despite his dissatisfaction with the judgment, Peng said that the case "has come to a temporary conclusion and has somewhat cleared up the uncertainty caused by the antitrust case."

"The management can now focus more on the company's business operations," he added.

AUO shares gained 5.05 percent to close at NT$11.45 Friday in Taipei.

(By James Lee)
ENDITEM/J