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Planet Ark World Environment News Sanyo may face criminal charge in solar cell issue

Date: 08-Nov-00
Country: JAPAN

MITI would decide whether to ask police to investigate Sanyo on suspicion of fraud after examining a final report to be submitted soon by the consumer electronics firm, Kyodo said quoting unidentified sources close to MITI.

Officials from MITI, the police and Sanyo were not immediately available to comment.

MITI was considering accusing Sanyo of falsifying product labels on solar cell panels to misrepresent their performance, sources close to the ministry were quoted as saying.

Sanyo President Sadao Kondo resigned late last month to take the blame for the sale by its Japanese unit of mislabelled solar cell panels made by a US subsidiary.

The falsified labels said the solar panels could generate up to 150 watts of electricity while the original labels pasted by the US unit said they could generate up to only 140 watts, the sources were quoted as saying.

Sanyo said in an interim report to MITI that 5,476 of the 23,460 solar cell panels made by the US unit from November 1996 to March 1998 were not capable of generating the level of electricity claimed.

Sanyo's share price closed down 0.55 percent at 903 yen yesterday, compared with a high for the year of 1,060 yen.

Sanyo has said it would recall 769 solar power generators that had defective single crystalline silicon solar cells, at a cost of some 500 million yen ($4.66 million).

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