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Wed, Sep 12, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Seoul considering sanctions after wrapping up Intel investigation


Antitrust investigators in South Korea have wrapped up a two-year probe into Intel Corp's activities in the country, officials said yesterday.

The Korean Fair Trade Commission has been probing Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, since June 2005. South Korean media have reported that the inquiry centered on allegations Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, abused its market dominance by pressuring computer makers to avoid using chips made by its rivals.

"The investigations have come to a close and the results have recently been presented to the decision-making committee to discuss possible sanctions," said Nah Young-kyu, a commission official.

Chuck Mulloy, legal affairs spokesman for Intel in Santa Clara, also said the probe was finished. The company last week received what he described as a "statement of objection" from the commission.

Mulloy said he could not discuss allegations against the company or divulge the contents of the statement because of the confidentiality of the document.

Intel has the right to respond to the findings, can request a hearing, and if it remains unsatisfied, can take the issue to court in South Korea, he said.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing sources it did not identify, reported yesterday that the regulator was expected to reach a decision on a penalty by next month at the latest.

The commission's Nah and Intel's Mulloy both would not comment on timing.

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