Korea's Fair Trade Commission has referred Apple to Prosecution for Hampering with its Probe into the company's Unfair Practices
In February, Patently Apple posted a report titled "FTC Korea Approves Apple's Self-Remedial Actions to Address Local Wireless Carrier Complaints of Abuse of Market Power." On paper it looked like the matter was behind Apple, until this morning. We're now learning that there was only a partial deal finalized last month, with the regulator deciding to separately take stern actions against Apple's probe obstruction.
Earlier today South Korea's antitrust regulator announced that it had decided to refer the local unit of US tech giant Apple Inc. and one of its executives to the prosecution for allegedly impeding the regulator's probe into unfair business practices.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) also stated that it plans to fine Apple Korea 300 million won (US$265,000) for hampering its investigation.
Apple Korea was probed by the KFTC over allegations that it required the country's three mobile operators to pay the cost of television advertisements and warranty service for its iPhones.
Apple blocked internet access and did not restore it in an attempt to impede the KFTC's on-site investigation in June 2016 into the company's unfair business activities, according to the KFTC.
The Korea Herald reports that Apple "refused to submit documents on network disruption to the antitrust regulator, and one of its executives physically attempted to deter an investor's related probe in November 2017."
In a prepared statement, Apple stated: "We have fully cooperated with KFTC, and neither Apple nor any of our employees did anything wrong. We follow the law wherever we operate and strongly disagree with KFTC in this case. We look forward to sharing the facts with the authorities."
The Korean probe coincidentally coincided with Apple's news of a big push into South Korea, home to Samsung. In late February, Apple opened their second retail store in Seoul's financial district. In mid-February, it was revealed that Apple is planning to open two more stores in Korea beginning with a third store in Myeongdong, a tourist hotspot, in central Seoul and a fourth store in the southeastern port city of Busan, 325 kilometers southeast of Seoul.