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Samsung Electronics may face penalty for obstruction: FTC

Samsung Electronics may be penalized for obstructing an investigation by the Fair Trade Commission.

Sources from the antitrust watchdog said the agency is considering penalties over an incident in March when employees of Samsung Electronics’ Suwon plant barred the commission’s investigators from entering the facility.

The investigators had been dispatched to monitor the manufacturing price of mobile phones, which have come under fire for being overpriced, especially compared to those being manufactured by overseas rivals.

The employees prevented the investigators from entering for about half an hour, prompting officials to call the police.

The investigators eventually entered the facility but were unable to find the data they were looking for, sources at the commission said.

The move from the antitrust agency comes on the heels of a related move when it slapped a 340 billion won ($309,000) fine on CJ Cheil Jedang, the nation’s top food company, for obstructing an on-site investigation.

According to related laws, corporations attempting to hinder, refuse or dodge investigations launched by the Fair Trade Commission can be fined up to 200 million won, while employees or executives are subject to a fine of up to 50 million won.

Industry sources said the watchdog may administer penalties if the act from the Suwon plant employees stemmed from management’s orders.

By Cynthia J. Kim  (