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LOS ANGELES - An arbitrator has ordered 21st Century Fox to pay 179-million dollars in a dispute over profits with the stars of the long-running TV show Bones, saying Fox executives engaged in "intentional fraud and malice."

The decision was reached earlier this month and revealed in a court petition from the plaintiffs demanding that Fox pay -- a decision Fox said it would contest.

Arbitrator Peter Licthman, a retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge, rebuked top Fox executives by name for self-dealing and deceit.

His decision includes 128-million in punitive damages, calling the sum "reasonable and necessary to punish Fox for its reprehensible conduct and deter it from future wrongful conduct."

The overall figure is among the largest ever for a dispute over a television show and comes in a case that shines a light on finances within Hollywood conglomerates.

Lichtman said that Fox executives "engaged in a pattern and practice of fraudulent self-dealing by which it enriched itself" at the expense of the Bones producers and stars, who were owed a cut of profits.

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, the stars of Bones in its run from 2005 through 2017, sued 21st Century Fox in 2015, saying it denied them profits by licensing the show to Fox's T-V division and to Hulu for below-market rates.

They were joined by executive producer Barry Josephson and Bones author Kathy Reichs.

In a statement, Deschanel said we are so proud of the hard work we did on Bones for 12 seasons and only ever wanted Fox to live up to its promises and contractual obligations.

Fox has denounced the decision and vows to fight it.