The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) claims that Google has obstructed the investigation into the US company’s alleged anticompetitive practice of forcing smartphone makers using its Android OS to favour its search engine, according to a South Korean publication.
According to the Hankook Ilbo news agency, the KFTC is considering imposing the maximum fine of KRW200 million (US$171,800) on Google for hindering its work. The report said that Google ‘methodically’ interfered with the agency’s investigation by deleting files from computers and telling employees to work at home when its office was raided by officials in September 2011.
Google denied the claims to CNET News. "We will, of course, continue to cooperate with this government inquiry,” Google's policy communications manager for the Asia-Pacific region Taj Meadows told ZDNet Asia.
The investigation was launched following complaints lodged in April by Korean companies NHN – which operates the Naver search engine – and Daum. Google said at the time that it planned to work with the KFTC to address the issue.