Samsung obstructed FTC investigation into price rigging by destroying hard drives, deleting data
Last week we told you that Samsung, alongside all the other South Korean phone makers as well as all the carriers over there, got fined by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) for price rigging. What they did was quite simple (and, it turns out, illegal). First they artificially inflated the prices of phones, then advertised heavy ‘discounts’ compared to those (artificial) prices, thus tricking people into buying phones at what they thought were bargain rates.
Some more information concerning the FTC’s investigation, and Samsung in particular, has now surfaced. It turns out that Samsung got fined an additional 400 million won ($356,000) for obstructing the FTC. That’s the biggest ever fine the FTC has given out for hindering an investigation.
So what did Samsung do, exactly? Well, the company destroyed hard drives, replaced computers, and made sure its employees didn’t talk to investigators. “There were systematic actions by executives and workers to avoid speaking to investigators, as well as concerted efforts to destroy evidence by changing computers or deleting hard drives”, according to the FTC. Samsung also sent false data and information on certain occasions, in order to mislead the FTC.
Such actions are unlikely to be repeated in the future though, as Korean lawmakers have passed some revised rules for such cases last month. Under the new regulations, those who willfully disrupt an official investigation could face up to 3 years in jail as well as an individual fine of up to 200 milllion won ($178,000).
Via The Korea Herald