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Prosecutors Conduct First Search and Seizure at Fair Trade Commission

Prosecutors Conduct First Search and Seizure at Fair Trade Commission

Posted September. 19, 2007 08:02,   


As the Fair Trade Commission did not pass documents regarding allegations of rigged bidding by construction companies, prosecutors arrived at the FTC with search and seizure warrant for the first time.

According to the FTC and prosecutors on Sep. 18, prosecutors from the Seoul central prosecutor`s office visited Cartel Investigation team of the FTC on Sep. 12 and confiscated documents regarding a drain-pipe repair business by Build Transfer Lease (BTL).

Prior to the investigation, early this July, the FTC levied 36.4 billion won on seven construction companies including Daewoo, SK and Posco, on the charges of entering rigged bids for the drain pipe repair business of BTL.

At that time, the FTC mitigated and remitted some of the constructors due to the fact that the companies concerned voluntarily reported their illegal behavior, and it did not report it to prosecutors.

Prosecutors demanded the FTC pass drain pipe business related documents while they are investigating allegations of rigged bids for Subway Line 7’s extension construction.

However, based on the Fair Trade Law stipulating the duties of keeping secrecy for the volunteer reporter, the commission has rejected its demand.

This investigation conducted by prosecutors is spotlighted because the FTC’s current bad relationship with the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution, due to the introduction of the Consent Order System.

An official from the prosecutors’ office warned of broad interpretation, saying, “We are concentrating on the subway rigged-bidding allegation and visiting the FTC with a search and seizure warrant was required to obtain the necessary documents for the investigation.”

The Consent Order System allows a case to be closed without restriction if companies violated Fair Trade Laws agrees to follow a FTC correction process. It has been introduced after the Korea-U.S. FTA agreement was made.

cha@donga.com dnsp@donga.com