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Samsung fined for obstructing Korean government price fixing investigation

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Samsung has been fined by the Korean government for interfering with its investigation into handset price fixing.

Gallery Photo: Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy Ace Plus, Galaxy Mini 2 hands-on
Gallery Photo: Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy Ace Plus, Galaxy Mini 2 hands-on

Samsung is among the companies being fined for price fixing in the handset space, and now the Korean Fair Trade Commission has issued an additional fine of 400 million won ($356,000) after Samsung was found to have obstructed the FTC's investigation. This latest penalty is in addition to the 14.2 billion won fine ($12.6 million) the company already received for its part in the price fixing scandal. According to a report from the Korea Joonang Daily, when FTC officials arrived to investigate Samsung's offices in Suwon, they found their way impeded by a team of security guards. Meanwhile, employees were ordered to delete data and replace computers that contained important information, while an executive falsely stated that he was away on a business trip to avoid an interview. By the time FTC officials made their way into the building, nearly an hour later, there was just one employee in the office. It was also revealed that some of the data that Samsung actually turned in had been manipulated.

The FTC's latest fine is its largest yet in an obstruction case. All told, the commission has issued around $40 million in fines to Korean telecommunications companies and handsets manufacturers, who are accused of colluding to artificially raise the prices on phones, and then using subsidies to make the devices look like a good deal.