Russian FAS rules that firm colluded with resellers to fix prices
APPLE HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY of conspiring with third-party phone sellers to the price of iPhones sold in Russia.
Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) last year accused Apple of colluding with resellers to fix iPhone prices after it was alerted to dodgy prices at 16 retailers across the country.
Apple at the time denied the allegations, saying that "resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world," and Russia's largest mobile phone retailer also denied that it was involved in any shady practices.
However, on Tuesday, the FAS ruled that Apple was indeed guilty of fixing prices of the iPhone 5S models, 5C, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
The watchdog said that Apple told 16 major resellers in the country to stick to certain prices for the "supported them for about three months", adding that non-compliance with the pricing guidelines may have led to the termination of contracts.
"In the case of the establishment of 'inappropriate' prices, the Russian subsidiary of Apple sent emails to resellers asking them to change," the watchdog said.
Deputy head of the FAS Andrey Tsarikovsky said in a statement that Apple "actively cooperated" with the watchdog, and said it has adopted the "necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law." It's not yet clear whether Apple will also be slapped with a fine for the violations.
In response to the ruling, an Apple spokesperson told the Financial Times that it is "deeply committed to making sure our resellers are able to compete fairly in the markets where we do business."
This isn't the first time that Apple has had trouble in Russia. The firm suspended online sales in the country in 2014 after "extreme fluctuations in the value of the rouble". µ