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FTC Awards 66,870,000 Won to Informant Who Reported Illegal Cartel

FTC Awards 66,870,000 Won to Informant Who Reported Illegal Cartel

Posted June. 16, 2005 03:04,   


A person was rewarded with more than 60 million won in the biggest-ever prize for reporting companies’ illegal cartel activity.

On June 15, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it provided “A” with 66,870,000 won in prize money for notifying if of price increase collusion of six companies manufacturing welding rods. The amount of the prize money is the biggest ever paid by the government.

Welding rods are primarily used in the heavy equipment industry, such as shipbuilding, automobile, and construction, as material for welding. The six companies implicated are virtually forming an oligopoly in Korea.

The FTC didn’t know anything about the companies’ price increase collusion but it started investigating into the collusion after the notification by “A” in July 2004.

“A” offered the FTC a document containing decisive evidence including the names of the companies, their discussion place meetings for collusion, and their agreed content in a written statement.

The FTC has confirmed the companies’ charges after going through an investigation for a period of 10 months, and has imposed a total of 4.187 billion won in fines on the six companies as well as a correction order.

So far, the KTC has supplied prize money for reporting companies’ illegal cartel activity in four cases. Among the four cases, 8,900,000 won was the highest amount of prize money previously awarded, which went to an informant for reporting illegal cartel activity of two-wheeled vehicle’s agencies last December.

An official of the KTC explained that even including the prize money by the police or the National Tax Service (NTS) for illegal activity or tax evasion charges, the prize money this time is the biggest amount ever.

The official also said, “This system, in which a person is awarded with a prize for reporting, induces companies to monitor other companies by themselves through a mutual control process,” and added that in order to stimulate cartel activity reporting, the KTC is keeping its informant’s identity a secret.

Chang-Won Kim changkim@donga.com