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Russian watchdog opens case against Apple subsidiary on iPhone price fixing

April 27, 23:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The company faces a fine from 1 mln to 5 mln rubles ($17,500-$87,700)

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MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) opened an administrative case against Apple Rus LLC, a Russian affiliate of US-based Apple corporation, according to FAS document. The Russian watchdog earlier found the company responsible for price fixing for certain iPhone 5 and 6 smartphone models.

The company faces a fine from 1 mln to 5 mln rubles ($17,500-$87,700) for the violation. Furthermore, company’s officials may be subject to a fine of 40-50 thousand rubles ($701.5-$877) or disqualification for the term up to three years.

FAS earlier launched an inspection regarding several Russian electronics retailers due to suspicions of price-fixing agreement in sales of the latest iPhone models. Current iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus prices set by retailers are slightly different against each other and those listed in the Apple’s press release dated September 28, 2015, which gives reasons to believe that retailers did not determine iPhone prices independently, FAS press service said.

The antitrust watchdog requested information from 16 retailers, among them Euroset, Eldorado, Svyaznoy, re:Store, Ozon.ru, Citilink, Media-Markt, Mobiland, Megafon and Vimpelcom (Beeline brand), as well as the official online Apple store.

The investigation revealed that the majority of resellers had set similar prices for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus since the start of their official sales in Russia and maintained them for a certain period of time, FAS said. Similar situation was revealed with other iPhone models.

The Commission of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia has found Apple Rus responsible for fixing prices for a number of iPhone models of the fifth and sixth series, Deputy Head of the regulator Andrei Tsarikovsky said on March 14 during the consideration of the case.

In particular, the watchdog stated violations in respect of smartphones iPhone 5s, 5c, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus.

Apple denied claims saying it does not force iPhone prices on retail networks. Resellers set their own prices for Apple products both in Russia and around the world, the company said. However, the US corporation cooperated with FAS later, recognized and closed out the violation.

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