San Francisco, California - A former executive of a large Taiwan-based color display tube (CDT) manufacturing company pleaded guilty late yesterday for his participation in a global conspiracy to fix prices of CDTs, a type of cathode ray tube (CRT) used in computer monitors and other specialized applications.
Chun-Cheng (Alex) Yeh, a resident of Taiwan, agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices, reduce output and allocate market shares of CDTs beginning as early as May 1999 until at least March 2005. Yeh was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on March 30, 2010. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.
“Our pursuit of those whose anticompetitive conduct abroad harms U.S. consumers does not stop with indictment,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Antitrust Division’s Criminal Enforcement Program. “We will use all of the tools available to us to ensure that those whose conduct results in criminal charges will be brought to justice should they choose to become fugitives.”
According to the indictment, Yeh, a former director of sales, and co-conspirators agreed to fix CDT prices and reduce output by shutting down CDT production lines for periods of time. Yeh and co-conspirators also agreed to allocate shares for the CDT market overall and for certain customers. The conspirators exchanged sales, production, market share and pricing information for the purposes of implementing, monitoring and enforcing their agreements.
Yeh is the first individual to plead guilty in connection with the CDT investigation. On May 17, 2011, Samsung SDI Company Ltd. pleaded guilty and paid a $32 million criminal fine for its role in the CDT conspiracy. Four other indicted individuals remain fugitives. On Aug. 18, 2009, Wen Jun (Tony) Cheng was indicted for his participation in the CDT conspiracy. On Nov. 9, 2010, Seung-Kyu (Simon) Lee, Yeong-Ug (Albert) Yang and Jae-Sik (J.S.) Kim were also indicted for their participation in the CDT conspiracy.
Yeh is charged with violating the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims if either amount is greater than the maximum fine.
The federal antitrust investigation into price fixing and other anticompetitive conduct in the CRT industry is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office. Anyone with information on price fixing or other anticompetitive conduct related to the CRT industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html, or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.