BRUSSELS, Jan 19 (Reuters) - A European Union court upheld on Tuesday fines of some 136 million euros ($148 million) imposed on Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba for their participation in a cartel for equipment used in electricity substations.
Mitsubishi Electric was fined 74.8 million euros by the European Commission and56.8 million euros, with a joint amount of 4.65 million euros, for participating in a cartel for gas insulated switchgear between 1988 and 2004.
The two Japanese companies brought action before the General Court of the European Union, the EU’s second highest court, seeking annulment.
They argued they were not as culpable as European producers as they had only committed not to enter the European market as their part of an international cartel.
The court found that this had enabled European producers to allocate market share among themselves.
Siemens Germany was fined 397 million euros for its part in the cartel but ABB was spared a fine after alerting regulators.
Gas insulated switchgear is used in electricity substations to convert current from high to low tension and vice versa and protects the transformer from overload. ($1 = 0.9186 euros) (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Keith Weir)