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Antimonopoly watchdog files case against LG’s Russia-based subsidiary for price fixing

June 28, 17:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service, LG used a special program to monitor retailers’ prices in order to control prices for a number of smartphones

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© AP Photo/John Locher

MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has initiated a case against LG Electronics RUS (Russia-based subsidiary of the South Korean electronics company) on elements of smartphone price fixing, a source in the FAS press service told TASS.

"According to the data obtained by Russia’s FAS, LG Electronics RUS used a special program to monitor retailers’ prices in order to control prices for a number of LG smartphones. Moreover, the company regularly received price reports from retailers themselves, which also used ‘price robots’ for price control," the source said.

In May, Deputy Head of FAS Andrei Tsarikovsky told TASS that the regulator began suspecting LG of fixing smartphone prices in Russia after an inspection, adding that FAS planned to file a case against the company in the near future.

FAS earlier launched an inspection regarding several Russian electronics retailers due to suspicions of price-fixing agreement in sales of the latest iPhone models. Current iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus prices set by retailers are slightly different against each other and those listed in the Apple’s press release dated September 28, 2015, which gives reasons to believe that retailers did not determine iPhone prices independently, FAS press service said.

The antitrust watchdog requested information from 16 retailers, among them Euroset, Eldorado, Svyaznoy, re:Store, Ozon.ru, Citilink, Media-Markt, Mobiland, Megafon and Vimpelcom (Beeline brand), as well as the official online Apple store.

The investigation revealed that the majority of resellers had set similar prices for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus since the start of their official sales in Russia and maintained them for a certain period of time, FAS said. Similar situation was revealed with other iPhone models.

The Commission of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia has found Apple Rus responsible for fixing prices for a number of iPhone models of the fifth and sixth series, Deputy Head of the regulator Andrei Tsarikovsky said on March 14 during the consideration of the case.

In particular, the watchdog stated violations in respect of smartphones iPhone 5s, 5c, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus.

Apple denied claims saying it does not force iPhone prices on retail networks. Resellers set their own prices for Apple products both in Russia and around the world, the company said. However, the US corporation cooperated with FAS later, recognized and closed out the violation.

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