HP's Seoul office raided in price fixing investigation

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HP's Seoul office was raided by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) last Friday as part of a price fixing investigation, according to Korea Times. The agency reportedly swiped documents and computer records along with questioning employees, though full details about the case aren't available yet.

HP spokeswoman Baek Min-jung confirmed the raid but refused to elaborate, dismissing the events as a "routine" part of the FTC's heightened monitoring of large IT firms which are notorious for abusing their market dominance. Last December, the FTC said it would clamp down on such activity in 2012. 

The FTC's lips are also sealed, citing internal policy that prevents the agency from divulging information about pending cases. With few official details to gnaw on, onlookers are doing what they do best: speculating.

It's reported that Korean firms are increasingly concerned about their dependence on foreign providers of servers, storage, database management systems as well as other enterprise produces and services. HP is a major player in that field with companies such as IBM and Oracle. It's believed the FTC is seeking evidence that the three companies violated anti-trust laws. If found guilty, the parties involved could face criminal charges.

In a separate anti-trust case, e-banking firm Webcash filed a complaint last month alleging that HP used unscrupulous tactics to secure several multi-billion-dollar projects. HP Korea and IBM Korea have also faced separate bribery scandals in the past.

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