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Toshiba: we won't pay £56 million price-fixing fine

A federal court in San Francisco has found Toshiba guilty of conspiring with its competitors to fix prices for liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, with a jury deeming the Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer to be liable for a £56 million fine.

However, Toshiba has said it does not expect to actually pay the fine, despite US antitrust laws which call for it to be tripled, saying other defendants in the class-action lawsuit have effectively covered its fine by settling for more money than the damages now being levied against it.

"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 US antitrust laws," the Tokyo-based firm claimed in a brief statement.

Toshiba added that it maintains its innocence in relation to all charges, despite the findings of the court, and was planning to appeal the verdict: "There was no illegal activity in the LCD business in the United States."

Between 1999 and 2006, Toshbia is accused of conducting shady meetings with its competitors to discuss setting prices at artificially high levels for mutual benefit.

Various lawsuits were subsequently brought on behalf of manufacturers, enterprises, and consumers who bought the products during the period, with a number of the other parties involved pleading guilty in previous cases.

In total, fines in excess of £1 billion have been doled out to the companies participating in the price-fixing cartel, which also includes Sharp and LG.

Anti-trust watchdogs in the US, Europe, and South Korea have been responsible for enforcing the compensatory payments.