Russia opens Samsung case. Комментарий Виталия Дианова, партнера антимонопольной практики Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Russia для Global Competition Review


Apparently mirroring probes brought against Apple and LG, Russia’s antitrust watchdog is investigating Samsung’s Russian subsidiary for allegedly coordinating the resale prices of some of its devices.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service revealed yesterday that it has formally launched an in-depth investigation into Samsung Electronics Rus Company after raiding the company’s offices last year. 

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner partner Vitaly Dianov in Moscow, whose firm advised a couple of the resellers in the Apple case, said that the Samsung probe reflects a continuation of the enforcer’s interest in the smartphone industry over the past couple of years. The cases have several similarities in their development and organisation, including that they have all been led by the FAS’s cartel department, he added. Dianov said there is some economic logic behind the behaviour that has been at the centre of the FAS’s probes. When a company launches a new device and the demand is higher than the supply, there are economic incentives to stabilise the prices at the retail end, he explained. The FAS recognises this, but still wants to ensure that there has been no interference or anticompetitive influence in setting such prices. The enforcer did not find any collusion among the resellers in the Apple and LG cases, but it discovered direction from the manufacturers, he noted. Apple even sent draft advertisements with pricing information to the resellers, he said. The fine for such behaviour remains low in Russia, but companies face reputational damage and potential remedies, which can be strict, Dianov said. The FAS is okay with the low penalty threshold, since its main weapon has been to impose conditions on companies, he said.



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