Samsung may be investigated by the South Korean trade commission following press allegations that its sold memory chips to Apple at below-market prices.

"We have not started an investigation yet," said Yi Seuk-joon, who heads the Competition Policy Division of the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC). "But we are reviewing the case."

He added that while there had been no complaints from competitors, the commission was following up on local press reports alleging unfair pricing of chips, which could hurt smaller rivals.

Yi expected the commission to decide whether or not to launch a full-scale investigation "after next month". Declining to mention the penalties Samsung could face if found in breach of regulations, Yi said it was too early to discuss the issue.

A Samsung spokesperson said it is co-operating with authorities but would not make further comment.

Samsung began supplying NAND flash memory chips, as used in music players and digital cameras, to Apple earlier this year. The chips are used in Apple’s new iPod Nano music player, which stores data on flash memory.

It is not the first time Samsung has had a run-in with the KFTC. The Samsung group, has filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court against the KFTC, which has called it shareholdings in financial affiliates excessive.