The European Commission hit Sony and two other Japanese producers of videotape with fines totaling nearly 75 million euros ($109.8 million) on Tuesday for fixing prices.
"Between 1999 and 2002, Sony, Fuji and Maxell managed to raise or otherwise control prices through a series of regular meetings and other illicit contacts," the EC said in a statement.
Sony's fine has been increased by 30% for obstructing the Commission's investigation during on-site inspections at its premises. Fuji's and Maxell's fines are reduced by 40% and 20% respectively because they co-operated with the investigation, according to the statement.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "This decision sends two warnings to companies engaging in cartel activities: first, the Commission can prosecute cartels effectively even without prompts from immunity applicants, and second, obstructing a Commission's antitrust investigation leads to severe penalties."
The cartel covered the two most popular professional videotape formats at the time -- Betacam SP and Digital Betacam. Sony, Fuji and Maxell have a combined share of more than 85% of the professional video tape market.
The Commission started an investigation with raids on EU subsidiaries of Sony, Fuji and Maxell in May 2002.