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Bankrupt Solyndra seeks $1.5 billion in damages from Chinese peers

By Thyagaraju Adinarayan

(Reuters) - Bankrupt solar firm Solyndra has filed a lawsuit against three U.S.-listed Chinese solar players, including Suntech Power Holdings Co , seeking $1.5 billion in compensation due to monopolization by these firms, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed against Suntech, Trina Solar Ltd and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co claiming that the trio's panel prices moved in tandem - falling 75 percent in four years in the U.S.

Solyndra, which claims in the lawsuit that the trio were involved in predatory pricing and price fixing, filed for bankruptcy a year ago as it could no longer compete with plunging prices of solar panels imported from China.

U.S. solar companies launched a complaint last year alleging protectionism from Beijing for Chinese panel makers, sparking trade disputes between the two countries.

As a result of the ongoing tryst, the U.S. slapped steep final duties on billions of dollars of solar energy products from China earlier this week.

Defendants - Suntech, Trina and Yingli - came to the U.S. and raised money from the stock market and deployed that capital to "destroy" American solar manufacturers, said Solyndra in the suit filed in a Northern California district court.

"We just received notice of this complaint, but from our initial review, these are unwarranted and misguided claims from a company that has a clear history of failed technology and achievements," said Robert Petrina, Managing Director, Yingli Green Energy Americas.

The other two Chinese companies named as defendants were not available for comment outside of business hours.

Solyndra has sold everything from its remaining inventory and assembly equipment to office computers in a bid to raise money to repay creditors.

The Obama administration came under fire for missing signs of financial trouble at the California-based Solyndra and approving nearly $535 million in loans in a bid to spark a clean energy industry and create jobs through stimulus spending.

Last year, executives from bankrupt Solyndra LLC testified that a flood of cheap Chinese solar panels kept it from realizing $1.2 billion in contracts it announced in 2008.

The lawsuit is Solyndra, LLC v. Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 12-05272.

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Divya Lad in Bangalore; Editing by Bernard Orr and Michael Perry)

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