Monday saw news the Russian government was investigating allegations that Russian resellers of the iPhone may be breaking price fixing laws by offering the device for the same price, regardless of the vendor. In a statement given to Reuters, Apple has categorically denied that it has any involvement in any alleged price fixing.
Apple, in emailed comments, said it did not oblige Russian resellers to fix prices for its products.
“Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world,” the company’s press office said.
Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) had announced that it was investigating charges of price fixing against Apple and 16 resellers in Russia, after a citizen complained that prices were identical across the country for all iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models.
“The Anti-Monopoly Service sees signs of price fixing violations in the Russian Federation at Apple iPhone resellers, which resulted in the same prices for these smartphones,” the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said in a statement reported by Reuters, announcing the investigation.
FAS, which has the power to fine companies it finds guilty of price fixing, said it was looking into the the idea that Apple has somehow forced Russian sellers to treat its manufacturer’s suggested retail prices as mandatory.
It said an investigation had shown that retailers had set identical prices and kept them at that level for a certain time period, including for other models.
Apple has long had a tempestuous relationship with Russia. In 2014, the Russian government requested Apple hand over its iOS and Mac source code for investigation, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations of government spying via smartphones.
In February of this year, Russia’s internet advisor to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin announced plans to raise taxes on Apple and other American companies.
It was reported in July that Apple is considering opening an iPhone repair center in Russia, following a lawsuit by an Apple customer. Dmitry Petrov filed a lawsuit last year, claiming Apple chain stores and service companies were not equipped to deal with screen repairs. Petrov could not get his warranted device’s screen fixed or replaced.