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Samsung hit with record fine for obstructing mobile phone investigation

The Fair Trade Commission in South Korea fined Samsung for interfering with its investigation into deceptive mobile phone pricing

Samsung Electronics received the largest-ever fine on Monday for obstructing an inquiry from South Korea's trade regulator, which was investigating deceptive mobile phone pricing practices.

Management and other Samsung employees delayed investigators during an on-site visit, deleted data on computers and submitted false data, the Fair Trade Commission said in a statement. Samsung was fined 400 million won (US$356,000).

Investigators were initially denied access to Samsung's wireless division in Suwon, and when they were finally let in, just one employee remained, FTC said.

The FTC included in its news release a CCTV still photo of Samsung employees moving a desk, part of the actions the agency alleged were undertaken to stymie the investigation.

In a statement, Samsung said it "is committed to maintaining high ethical standards and will make every effort to strictly uphold our values in the future".

On Thursday, the FTC announced fines against three carriers and three mobile phone manufacturers into improper mobile phone pricing practices. SK Telecom, KT, LG U+ along with Samsung Electronics, Pantech and LG Electronics were collectively fined 45.8 billion won.

Samsung said it never engaged in handset price collusion and "will take appropriate legal actions to prove these allegations are false".

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