Apple referred for prosecution in Korea, fined for hampering antitrust investigation

Apple Store logo
Apple Store logo (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has been fined by the Korea Fair Trade Commission and referred for prosecution.
  • The KFTC says Apple has hampered an antitrust probe into the company.
  • Apple has fervently denied any wrongdoing.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission has fined Apple and referred the company and one executive for prosecution over claims it hampered an antitrust investigation in 2016 and 2017.

As reported by The Korea Herald:

South Korea's antitrust regulator said Wednesday it has 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 said it plans to fine Apple Korea 300 million won ($265,000) for hampering its investigation.

According to the report, Apple Korea was under investigation over claims it forced three mobile operators to bear the cost of television commercials and iPhone warranty services. During a KFTC on-site investigation in June 2016 into "the company's unfair business activities," Apple is accused of blocking internet access and not restoring it.

The report also says that Apple "refused to submit documents on network disruption to the antitrust regulator" and that "one of its executives", presumably the one referred for prosecution, "physically attempted to deter an investor's related probe" in November 2017.

In a fervent denial, Apple told The Korea Herald "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."

Apple had previously been allowed to settle antitrust allegations in the country with the promise of a $90 million investment in the country, but the report says the KFTC "decided to separately take stern actions against the company's probe obstruction."

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9