MANHASSET, N.Y. South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. has been fined 60 million won ($58,000) by the Korean regulatory agency Fair Trade Commission for obstructing a government investigation and falsifying pertinent documents, according to several online press reports.
According to reports in The Korea Herald and E-Commerce Times Tuesday (Sept. 20), the FTC accused Samsung of obstructing its investigation into unfair contracting practices of System Engineering Mega Solution (SEMES), a chip equipment maker which Samsung owns 68 percent of.
The reports were quoted as saying Samsung froze its internal computer network to block the FTC investigation, and made plans to conceal evidence of illegal subcontracts from antitrust regulators.
The Korea Herald report quoted an FTC regulator as saying Samsung and SEMES fabricated a contract that hid the fact both forcefully fixed a unit price of products supplied by an unspecified manufacturer. The companies then deleted certain parts of the contract to hide the wrong deal, the report said.
"This is a very unique case in that the guilty parties had planned far ahead of the time the actual searches were made," the FTC official reportedly said. "This hindered our investigation extensively."
According to reports, the FTC will handle the case heavy-handedly to avoid similar future occurrences.