South Korea's state-run auditor has launched a probe into the ICT ministry on suspicions that it ignored regulations in allowing U.S. Internet giant Google Inc. to operate a mobile payment business here, industry sources said Tuesday.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning authorized Google Payment Korea Ltd. in June 2011. While South Korean telecom law requires mobile transaction service providers to have at least five staff members with more than two years of related job experience and other necessary facilities based locally, Google Payment Korea has outsourced its business and had its key operational facilities based at the Google headquarters in the U.S.
The Board of Audit and Inspection reportedly discovered the violation during a separate investigation into the firm following a series of complaints by consumers about getting refunds for applications purchases.
Google Korea said it will not comment on the issue, as the investigation is focusing on the ICT ministry and not the company.
The Internet policy division of the ministry previously belonged to the Korea Communications Commission before it was transferred in 2013 following the inauguration of President Park Geun-hye. (Yonhap)