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Whirlpool alleges fraud in trade case

Keywords: Tags  Whirlpool, Samsung, residential washers, dumping margins, Commerce, ITA, Akin Gump, Cassidy Levy Kent Jack Levy

NEW YORK — Whirlpool Corp. has alleged that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. falsified information in an anti-dumping investigation into imports of large residential washers from South Korea.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) last month assessed preliminary weighted-average dumping margins ranging from 9.62 percent on Samsung products up to 82.41 percent for other Korean producers/exporters (, July 30).

However, counsel for Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool has challenged the Commerce ruling, alleging that a Samsung executive and its counsel at Washington-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP "undermine(d) the integrity" of the proceedings by supplying the department with false Korean sales data in an effort to "reduce its anti-dumping duty liability and gain unfair advantage over its competitors," according to documents obtained by AMM.

"This is certainly noteworthy because of the gravity of the allegations. We think that this gives Samsung an unfair advantage over their competitors, and if the U.S. government agrees, we hope to get that ruling soon," Jack A. Levy, an attorney at Cassidy Levy Kent (USA) LLP, which represents Whirlpool, told AMM. "The U.S. government should take appropriate measures to protect the integrity of its proceedings."

Whirlpool’s counsel also alleged that Samsung’s reported prices for washers differed from those found in independently obtained copies of transaction records, citing numerous differences between figures in monthly sales invoice documents submitted to Commerce and those in Samsung’s home market database.

"In short, the administrative record contains clear and compelling evidence that Samsung has reworked its detailed revenue and cost data ... such that its reported washer data masked the magnitude of its dumping," Whirlpool’s counsel wrote.

Whirlpool’s counsel asked Commerce to issue Samsung a total adverse-facts-available rate of 82.41 percent, cancel verification of Samsung’s questionnaire responses, refer the matter to the inspector general for criminal investigation, initiate an investigation into Samsung’s attorney and representatives, and provide appropriate information in the parallel countervailing duty investigation.

Akin Gump denied any fraudulent activity, claiming that Whirlpool had "selected documents out of context" and misunderstood the Seoul-based company’s record-keeping system.

"In comparing Samsung’s data with sales prices in the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) materials in its attempt to discredit Samsung’s reported costs, Whirlpool has taken into consideration only the retailer mark-up on its acquisition cost," Akin Gump wrote.

Counsel at Akin Gump and a Samsung representative could not be reached for comment.

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