Tue, Aug 24, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Wu tells officials to aid AUO executives in the US

PRICE-FIXING CASE:The premier instructed the Cabinet to help the panel maker determine how it could have a travel ban lifted so the three can return to Taiwan

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday instructed the Cabinet to assist AU Optronics (AUO) after three AUO executives were barred by a US district court from leaving the US in an LCD panel price-fixing case.

Wu has put Vice Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) in charge of convening meetings between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and lawyers to determine how to help the AUO officials and have the travel ban lifted so they can return to Taiwan as soon as possible, the Executive Yuan said in a press release.

Wu said the government should establish a standard operating procedure to offer legal assistance to Taiwanese and enterprises facing similar situations, the press release said.

For the first time since the trio were banned from leaving the US last week, Wu specifically named government agencies to provide assistance.

Wu previously said he was in no position to intervene in a judicial procedure in the US and had instructed Taiwanese officials based in San Francisco to “gain a better understanding” of the situation.

The executives — chief executive and president Chen Lai-juh (陳來助), vice chairman Chen Hsuan-bin (陳炫彬) and board member Hui Hsiung (熊暉) — have been ordered by a US court to surrender their passports.

They had traveled to the US two to three weeks ago to explain themselves in court and clear AUO of price-fixing charges.

US prosecutors on Friday said that the three executives were a flight risk, given the lack of an extradition treaty between the US and Taiwan.

AUO and six executives were indicted in the US in June for their alleged role in a conspiracy to fix prices of LCD panels used in TVs and computer monitors.

The case builds on an industrywide probe that prosecutors say has led to more than US$890 million in fines, seven companies pleading guilty and jail terms for nine executives.

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