Korea FTC hands out $6.9 mil in fines


SEOUL -- South Korea's Fair Trade Commission handed out $6.9 million in fines Sunday to five film distributors and three multiplex chains for price collusion.

The FTC fined CJ CGV, Megabox and Lotte Cinema -- the nation's three largest multiplex chains -- as well as distributors CJ Entertainment, Showbox, Lotte Entertainment, Cinema Service and Sony Pictures Buena Vista Releasing Korea.

CJ Entertainment received the single largest fine -- $2 million -- followed by CJ CGV ($1.6 million) and Sony ($1.4 million).

A formal letter was sent by the five distributors to the three exhibitors, telling the exhibitors to cease offering discounts without consulting each other first. The participants also met in person on March 12, according to the FTC.

The companies had no comment, but local press reports said at least two -- CJ Entertainment and Lotte -- will not appeal the decision.

In a Jan. 16 ruling, the FTC had ruled against many of the same companies for "using their dominant business position" in a range of unfair business practices.