Taiwanese firm fined US$5m for price-fixing in US

Staff writer, with CNA, LOS ANGELES

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - Page 14

A Taiwanese aftermarket auto light maker and its subsidiary in the US have been fined US$5 million by a court in California for their roles in a price-fixing conspiracy, the US Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

The department said Eagle Eyes Traffic Industrial Co (龍鋒) and its California-based subsidiary, E-Life Automotive Inc, pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix the prices of aftermarket auto lights. According to the department, Eagle Eyes and E-Life conspired with other firms to hamper competition by fixing product prices. Eagle Eyes’ participation occurred from July 2001 to September 2008, while E-Life had a presence in the conspiracy from March 2006 until September 2008.

The department said Eagle Eyes chairman Lin Yu-chu (林玉柱) and vice chairman Hsu Hong-ming (許鴻民) were indicted for meeting with their co-conspirators to agree on prices to be set for their products.

Hsu, who was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport more than a year ago, pleaded guilty last month and is expected to be sentenced in January, while Lin, who usually resides in Taiwan, remains at large.

“The conspirators engaged in an international price-fixing scheme that undermined competition in the aftermarket auto lights industry,” said Joseph Wayland, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s antitrust division.

In addition to Hsu, three other co-conspirators also pleaded guilty, including Hsu Shiu-min (許敘銘), the former chairman of Taiwan-based Depo Auto Parts Industrial Co (帝寶), who is also scheduled to be sentenced in January.