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Google in a SEC Filing Discloses a Pair of Probes its Undergoing in Argentina and South Korea; U.S. FTC Taps a High-profile Attorney for Google Antitrust Investigation

Google this week formally disclosed in a quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the company is the subject of a pair of probes in both Argentina and South Korea – each opened investigations into “certain business practices” at the Mountain View, California, company.

The probes disclosed in the regulatory filing Wednesday come as Google sees a growing level of scrutiny in both the U.S. and several overseas markets.

“Both Argentina’s Comision Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia and the Korea Fair Trade Commission in South Korea have also opened an investigation into certain business practices,” the company said in its filing.

Google said that the Argentinian probe was related to its search and advertising businesses. The spokeswoman said Argentina’s regulator “notified us that they are conducting a preliminary inquiry into our search and search advertising services, and we are of course happy to answer their questions.”

The Argentine antitrust agency, the CNDC, said in a statement that it is investigating Google to determine if the company has a dominant position in its respective markets that could affect Argentina.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the investigatiors in South Korea, Fair Trade Commission is looking into the company’s handling of mobile data and advertising. Last year, South Korean police raided a local Google office as part of an investigation into how the company has been collecting location data about users through mobile phone advertising.

Google confirmed the raid at that time and said it was cooperating with the related investigation.

Google spokeswoman said, meanwhile, the probe in South Korea “is an ongoing inquiry that started last year and we continue to cooperate with regulators.”

Antitrust authorities in both the U.S. and the European Commission have expressed concern over the company’s dominance of the search and advertising businesses. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reviewing whether the company has abused its dominant position in the online search market, while the EU is also investigating antitrust complaints against the company.

In the U.S. on Thursday the FTC announced it had tapped experienced litigator Beth Wilkinson to lead its antitrust probe of Google.

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