BUSINESS
10/15/2012 02:11 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2012

Solyndra Lawsuit Alleges Chinese Firms Conspired To Push Company Out Of Business

Solyndra, the green energy giant that filed for bankruptcy last year, is claiming that three Chinese solar panel firms are responsible for its ruin.

Solyndra is suing China-based Suntech Power Holdings Co., Trina Solar, and Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, alleging that the companies engaged in “attempted monopolization, conspiracy, predatory pricing” and other tactics in an aim to destroy Solyndra, according to the complaint filed in federal court.

As part of the conspiracy, Solyndra alleges the Chinese firms worked with raw material suppliers and lenders to flood the U.S. market with below-cost solar panels. Solyndra is seeking $1.5 billion in damages.

E. L. "Mick" McDaniel, managing director of Suntech America, wrote in an e-mail statement to Bloomberg that the allegations are “baseless.”

"It is obvious that this lawsuit is a misguided effort by Solyndra to find scapegoats for its failure to commercialize its technology at a competitive price point," he wrote.

Solyndra’s claims against the Chinese manufacturers come amid a U.S. crackdown on Chinese solar panel makers. The Commerce Department announced earlier this month that it would impose a tariff of between 24 and 36 percent on most solar panels imported from China, The New York Times reports.

The government determined earlier this year that Chinese companies were taking advantage of U.S. subsidies and selling their panels in America for less than what it cost to make them -- a tactic called dumping, according to the NYT.

Solyndra’s 2011 bankruptcy has become a black eye for the Obama administration, as the company was forced to lay off more than 1,000 workers after getting a $528 million federal loan. Congressional Republicans launched an investigation into the loan and the company’s subsequent bankruptcy shortly after Solyndra folded.

The Solyndra debacle has also provided fodder for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who made a surprise visit to Solyndra’s headquarters earlier this year, using the space to emphasize his argument that Obama took a gamble with taxpayer money that ultimately failed. Romney also used Solyndra during a debate earlier this month, making the argument that Obama has failed in his promise to create green jobs.

(Hat tip: Courthouse News)

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