Watchdog more than doubled fines levied in 2011

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Watchdog more than doubled fines levied in 2011

The Fair Trade Commission imposed fines on 136 percent more unfair trade cases last year over the year before.

Fines were imposed in 156 cases compared to 66 in 2010, it said yesterday.

It filed charges on 38 cases last year, double the 19 cases in 2010.

“This means that we have a better legal understanding about fair trade actions,” said Song Sang-min, director of the FTC’s office for general committee management. “We can even see higher figures in the coming years, since Korea is still in a beginner’s place when it comes to enforcing laws related to fair trade.”

Song said that the number of instances of unfair trade the FTC discovered has skyrocketed since 2005.

“I think two-thirds of the cases we took care of over the last 31 years came after 2005,” said Song.

However, the total amount of fines decreased 1.05 percent to 601.7 billion won ($533 million) last year. Fines imposed for the unfair group actions, including price collusion, came to 571 billion won, 94.9 percent of the total.

The largest fine last year was 254.8 billion won and the second-largest was 117.8 billion won. The previous year, fines of more than 500 billion won were imposed in two cases.

The commission was sued 52 times last year for its punishments and so far has won three cases.

By Lee Sun-min []

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