The great battery scam has reached a milestone in Europe.

The European Commission this week imposed a settlement fine of €166m on a trio of Japanese manufacturers for operating the price-fixing cartel.

Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo used an increase in the price of cobalt as a pretext to collude to fix prices, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said yesterday.

Samsung was spared a fine put at €57.7m as it had turned evidence over "reveal ing the existence of the cartel to the Commission".

The price-fixing agreement covered lithium ion batteries used in mobile phones, computers and other portable electronic devices between 2004 and 2007.

The fine is 10 per cent lower than it might have been, Euractiv notes.

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