Fair Trade Report Names LG, SK, Lotte, and Hyundai Worst Violators of Laws

luvsmiling, Sept. 7, 2015, 9:49 a.m.

Retail giant Lotte Group ranked No. 1 among South Korea’s family-controlled conglomerates in terms of violations of the country’s fair trade rules, a report showed Monday. The report by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) sent to Rep. Shin Hak-yong’s office, revealed that Lotte topped the list for breaking rules aimed at preventing market distortions in the last 10 years. The antitrust agency’s report covered the country’s five conglomerates or chaebol.

During the 10-year period, Lotte, the fifth-largest conglomerate, was charged and fined 147 times, although 88 of these were administrative warnings for minor violations. Among others checked, SK came in second with 143 violations, followed by Samsung with 139. LG and Hyundai Motor Group were each cited for 117 and 103 instances of fair trade rule violations. Despite Lotte topping the list when it comes to total numbers, it actually came last in terms of fines, the findings showed.

In the past decade, Lotte was slapped with 67.9 billion won (US$56.9 million) in penalties, just one-tenth the amount levied against Samsung, the country’s largest chaebol. Samsung, which has tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. under its wings, was ordered to pay 684.5 billion won in fines.

SK and Hyundai were slapped with fines totaling 626.9 billion won and 327.9 billion won, respectively, with LG fined 201.9 billion won. The lawmaker’s office said of the largest chaebol, Samsung had the 14 fair trade violations that resulted in the matter being sent to the state prosecutors’ office for criminal investigation. This is the largest number among the conglomerates checked.

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