Posco unit raided over price-fixing allegations

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Posco unit raided over price-fixing allegations

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office yesterday raided the office of Posco ICT, a subsidiary of Posco that manages the parent company’s IT network, to find further evidence of alleged price-fixing by Korea’s biggest steelmaker and its affiliate Posco C&C.

“We launched an investigation into Posco ICT first because we need to secure some data,” a representative of the law enforcement agency was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.

“We still have no plan to raid other companies involved,” the source added.

The move came after the Fair Trade Commission in February asked prosecutors to probe five steel producers for alleged collusion on prices of galvanized sheet iron. Last December, the antitrust watchdog slapped a combined 291.7 billion won ($261.7 million) fine on seven steel producers including Posco, Hyundai Hysco, Dongbu Steel and SeAH Steel for fixing prices on cold-rolled steel plates, galvanized steel sheets and color steel sheets.

“It was revealed that the five steelmakers had regular meetings to control the prices of different steel products over 10 times since 2005,” said the FTC in the complaint.

Some 10 investigators conducted the search and seizure operation, collecting e-mail archives, internal reports and documents detailing transactions.

Posco denied the allegation and vowed to defend itself legally.

“Posco is not involved in the price-fixing case and the truth will be revealed after the investigation,” said a source at Posco who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We also filed administrative litigation as well,” the source said.

The top player in the steel industry and Posco C&C were fined 117.6 billion won last December, the largest penalty.

By Park Eun-jee [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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