Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Taiwan's leading panel maker AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) is facing a dilemma over whether or not it should appeal a court ruling in the U.S. that the company colluded with other flat panel makers to fix prices, a Taiwanese lawyer said Friday.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California fined the company US$500 million, payable within three years, while AUO's former Vice Chairman Chen Hsuan-bin and former Vice President Hsiung Hui were each sentenced to three years in prison and fined US$200,000.
From the aspect of the right to appeal, AUO can appeal, said Hung Shu-li, a lawyer at Dacheng Law Offices in Taipei. However, she went on, it might also choose to simply pay the fine so as not to further disrupt its business operations.
The company may consider whether or not to pay the US$500 million fine, but it should appeal against the three-year sentences Chen and Hsiung were given, she said.
"Three years is a long time. If AUO doesn't appeal, there's no other hope," Hung said, adding that the three cases are separate and that AUO can appeal them separately.
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.
(By Pan Chi-i and James Lee)