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AU Optronics executive convicted in price fixing trial

Au Optronics Chief Executive Chen Lai-juh (L) and Chief Finance Officer Andy Yang speak during an investors conference in Taipei April 22, 2
Au Optronics Chief Executive Chen Lai-juh (L) and Chief Finance Officer Andy Yang speak during an investors conference in Taipei April 22, 2

(Reuters) - An executive of Taiwan-based AU Optronics was found guilty of fixing the prices of certain liquid crystal displays used to make the screens of televisions and computer monitors, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

A jury found Shiu Lung Leung, a former senior manager in a desktop display unit, guilty of participating in the price-fixing scheme from about mid-2002 to the end of 2006, the department said.

The company in September was found guilty of price-fixing and fined $500 million. Two executives were previously sentenced to three years in prison. Former AU Chief Executive L.J. Chen, who remains a top executive at the company, was acquitted at the trial.

AU has said it would appeal the earlier convictions. At the trial, AU's lawyers asserted that the company "competed fiercely" and that the mere exchange of information between companies was not illegal.

Several other companies, including LG Electronics Inc, have pleaded guilty in the LCD probe.

Rival LG Electronics agreed to pay a $400 million fine in 2008, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd cut an early deal to avoid prosecution.

AU Optronics manufactures a type of LCD panel for companies such as Apple, Dell, and Hewlett Packard, among others.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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