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South Korea fining Apple $265K for impeding antitrust probe, may prosecute

Apple and the Korean Fair Trade Commission

The Korea Fair Trade Commission is penalizing Apple for hampering its antitrust investigation, and is referring Apple Korea plus one executive for prosecution.

Following its settlement of a local antitrust case, Apple Korea is now to be fined $265,000 by the same authorities for reportedly impeding its investigation. The Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) says that the company, and in particular one unnamed executive, blocked the investigation.

According to The Korea Herald, the antitrust authority says that the company took steps to block its raid of Apple offices in 2016. Reportedly, Apple blocked internet access and refused to submit relevant documentation.

The Korea Herald reports that the unnamed executive physically attempted to deter a related part of the investigation in 2017, but has no further details.

"We have fully cooperated with KFTC, and neither Apple nor any of our employees did anything wrong," Apple told The Korea Herald in a statement. "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 investigation was concerned with the allegation that Apple had forced phone carriers in the region to pay for warranty services, and for television advertising. The Korean Fair Trade Commission ultimately allowed Apple to propose recompense, without admitting fault.

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