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Korea begins wider probe of retail outlets

South Korea’s anti-trust watchdog said it has opened a “wide-ranging” probe into alleged price collusion by retail outlets, as part of the government’s efforts to curb rising retail oil products prices. “We launched investigations this week into suspected price collusion by some 200 major petrol stations across the country,” the Fair Trade Commission said. The agency had conducted probes into pricing by oil stations along the highways in the past, but this is the first time that it is investigating almost all major retail outlets across the country. Since last May, the country’s oil refiners have been obliged to post the prices of products sold at their retail outlets, as well as those they supply to independent petrol stations. (September 24, 2009)