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Jury Orders Toshiba to Pay $87 Million in U.S. Antitrust Case

July 4, 2012
Japanese electronics firm maintains it did not participate in price-fixing of LCD screens, 'plans to pursue all available legal avenues to correct that finding.'

Japanese electronics giant Toshiba (IW 1000/39) said Tuesday a jury has ordered it to pay $87 million in a price-fixing case on LCD displays, but that it ultimately may not end up paying damages.

A company statement said the U.S. District Court jury in San Francisco ordered the fine "due to alleged antitrust practices in the LCD business."

But it added that "given credits for settlements by other defendants, Toshiba expects that it will not have to pay any damages as a result of this verdict, even after trebling under U.S. antitrust laws."

The case stems from a class action suit filed in 2007 by purchasers of LCD panels and related products in the United States.

"Toshiba has consistently maintained that there was no illegal activity on its part in the LCD business in the United States, and Toshiba continues to hold that view," the statement said.

Toshiba added that it "believes that the jury's verdict is in error as to the finding of wrongdoing on Toshiba's part. Toshiba plans to pursue all available legal avenues to correct that finding."

Several other companies have been charged in the case, and Taiwan's AU Optronics (IW 1000/246) was among those found guilty.

LCD screens are used in computers, laptops, televisions, smartphones and other gadgets.

Rival LCD makers met in secret in karaoke bars, tea rooms, and hotel conference rooms in Taiwan to set prices rather than letting market forces prevail, according to U.S. officials.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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