Displays

Three Indicted for Fixing Prices of Color Display Tubes

A grand jury in San Francisco has indicted three former executives from two manufacturers of color display tubes (CDTs) for charges related to an alleged global conspiracy to fix prices of the tubes used in computer monitors and other products.

The indictment, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, charges Seung-Kyu "Simon" Lee, Yeong-Ug "Albert" Yang and Jae-Sik "J.S." Kim with working with other conspirators to suppress and eliminate competition in the CDT market by fixing prices and reducing output. Lee, Yang and Kim participated in the conspiracy at various times between January 2000 and March 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.

The DOJ did not name the companies that employed the defendants. It's unclear if the companies were not named because of the ongoing investigation at the DOJ, because the companies were not involved or some other reason.

All three defendants were residents of South Korea during the conspiracy, according to the indictment.

Lee, Yang, Kim and other conspirators agreed to charge target prices of CDTs and agreed reduce output of CDTs by periodically shutting down production lines, the DOJ alleged. The co-conspirators exchanged CDT sales, production and pricing information for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing their agreements, the agency said.

The conspirators met in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, China and elsewhere for their price-fixing discussions, the CDT said.

Six people have been indicted in connection with the DOJ's ongoing CDT investigation, with three others indicted between February 2009 and March of this year.

Lee, Yang and Kim are each charged with violating the U.S. Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a US$1 million fine for individuals, although the maximum fine can be increased to twice the amount of monetary gain from the crime or twice the loss to victims.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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