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Qualcomm fights $873 million in fines by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission


One of the Qualcomm buildings in San Diego, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
One of the Qualcomm buildings in San Diego, California.

Qualcomm has sought a stay over an estimated $873 million in fines (1 trillion South Korean won) levied by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), the Korea Herald reported, saying the court filing was made late Tuesday in Seoul Central District Court.

The newspaper said lawyers for Qualcomm have asked for a halt to implementation of the fine and related penalties, citing sources.

The filing made a deadline set for Wednesday to respond to the order issued in late December that said the U.S.-based chipmaker used its market position unfairly in the Korean market by refusing to offer licenses to chipset manufacturers and demanding high fees for patents used by smartphone makers.

Qualcomm "can confirm we've filed an appeal and an application for a stay of the KFTC'S decision," a Qualcomm spokesperson said to CNBC Asia.

South Korean prosecutors are also investigating Samsung's influence on the KFTC and have questioned Kim Hak-hyun, who until last month was vice chairman of the antitrust watchdog.

Qualcomm's General Counsel Don Rosenberg reportedly told news outlets on Monday that the fine was also under question because of a possible link to the ongoing corruption scandal involving Korea's President Park Geun-hye and Samsung Electronics, a major customer of Qualcomm.

"The incorrect decision is the product of an unfair process that we believe was heavily influenced by commercial interests," Qualcomm General Counsel Don Rosenberg was quoted as saying, according to the Korea Herald.

"The recent reports about the special prosecutor's investigation into Samsung's connection to the former Vice Chairman of the (K)FTC, who oversaw our case, has increased our level of concern."

Read the full report here.

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Clarification: Although The Korea Herald classified the legal move as an injunction, the company clarified it was a stay order.