Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) officials have paid "an unscheduled visit" to Intel's office in Seoul, seeking additional documents from the company as part of an ongoing investigation into its business practices, an Intel spokesman said.
"They made the call during normal business hours," said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman, challenging rival Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD's) characterisation of the visit as a "dawn raid". The visit took place on Tuesday, he said.
The KFTC visit was part of a previously announced investigation into Intel's business practices. In June 2005, Korean regulators first requested documents from Intel related to its dealings with local PC makers, including its marketing and rebate programs. Intel revealed the investigation in an August 2005 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Intel marketing dollars generate investigation
"They're seeking additional information into our business practices," Mulloy said, noting that Intel has provided information to KFTC investigators in recent months. "The only thing that's marginally unusual is that this was an unscheduled visit that we didn't expect," he said.
South Korea is not the only country where Intel faces scrutiny over its business practices. In July 2005, European Commission officials raided Intel offices in Swindon, England, and Munich, Germany.
In addition, last year the Fair Trade Commission of Japan (JFTC) recommended that Intel end its practice of offering funds to PC makers in exchange for a commitment not to use processors from its competitors. Intel accepted those recommendations, which came after a lengthy JFTC investigation, saying at the time it wanted to avoid a protracted legal battle.
Intel is also being sued in the US and Japan by AMD over alleged antitrust violations. Intel has denied the charges.
"We have been scrutinised many times in the past and we expect to be in the future," Mulloy said. "It comes with the territory."