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Toshiba Found Guilty Of LCD Price Fixing, Fined $87M

Toshiba was fined $87 million for artificially inflating LCD prices, but US antitrust law calls for the fine to be tripled. Even then, Toshiba doubts it will have to pay any money from its own pocket as the settlements paid by other defendants in the class-action suit already cover them.

“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,” Toshiba said in a brief statement.

Despite the Jury’s findings, Toshiba maintains its innocence.

“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.

“While Toshiba appreciates the jury’s time and effort, Toshiba 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.” 

Other vendors involved in related class action suits have already agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to settle, including Chimei Innolux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Epson Imaging Devices, HannStar Display, Hitachi Displays, Samsung Electronics and Sharp.

The class-action suit was filed by consumers, government and public entities following a 2007 US Department of Justice criminal probe into price fixing in the LCD industry. In the criminal case, Sharp, LG Display and Chunghwa Picture Tubes pled guilty and agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

According to a ComputerWorld report, AU Optronics decided to fight the charges, but the company and two of its executives were found guilty in a ruling earlier this year. They now face a fine of up to $1 billion.
Toshiba was never indicted in the aforementioned criminal case.