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Tosh handed $87 MILLION fine in LCD price fixing case

Japanese electronics firm vows to fight verdict

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Japanese electronics giant Toshiba has come out fighting after becoming the latest big name to be found guilty of a widespread price-fixing racket relating to liquid crystal display (LCD) panels sold in the US.

The company has now been ordered by a northern California court to pay $87m in damages – $70m to consumers who bought its products, and $17m to affected manufacturers, according to Reuters.

However, Toshiba will be fighting the jury’s verdict and released a statement saying it will seek “all available legal avenues” to do so.

The case has been dragging on now for the best part of six years, as a host of big name electronics firms were accused of artificially inflating prices.

In December 2011, Samsung, Sharp and six others agreed to pay $388m to settle with OEMs and soon after seven more LCD makers including Samsung, Hitachi and Epson Imaging offered $553m to settle the charges.

In March, Taiwanese firm AU Optronics was found guilty of violating US anti-trust laws but, like Toshiba, said it would appeal.

The verdict against Toshiba is the result of a civil class action suit brought by customers because US prosecutors did not indict the Japanese firm, despite going after others in the cartel.

"There was strong evidence that Toshiba participated in the price-fixing conspiracy through communications with other TFT-LCD manufacturers, and that it received future pricing information from its competitors, shared its own future information, and was aware of its wrongdoing," said Bruce Simon, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs.

"We are grateful for the jury's service. The jury rejected Toshiba's claim that it had done nothing wrong, and this is one of the few antitrust class actions ever tried to a successful verdict." ®

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