Look who's being searched: Google raided by South Korean competition regulators

Google continues to be plagued by antitrust disputes, with the most recent flashpoint occurring earlier in the week when the company's offices in Seoul were raided by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), inside sources are claiming.

If the reports are accurate, it would represent the second time the search giant has been swooped on by the government agency, which is responsible for regulating economic competition in South Korea.

Speculation surrounding the bust indicates it may be a response to the Internet titan's resistance to an ongoing Android-related investigation by the KFTC, which the regulators feel Google is hampering by erasing documents and encouraging employees to work remotely during the proceedings.

Google has not yet issued a direct comment on the reported raid, instead reiterating an earlier statement that it will "continue cooperating with this and other government inquiries."

The investigation is rooted in a complaint lodged last year by local Internet content service operators, including NHN Corporation, who run the popular Korean web portal Naver, and Daum Communications.

The central grievance logged by the two companies is that Google uses its market dominance to manipulate smartphone manufacturers and mobile carriers on the peninsula into pre-loading its services onto devices whilst freezing out local rivals.

The South Korean government is known for placing harsh, something absurd, restrictions on telecommunications products - until late 2011, all game apps had to be vetted by a central "Game Rating Board," a move that led Apple and Google to pull out of that side of the app market.

It is not the first time that Google has faced problems in South Korea - Google's Seoul offices were also raided by the KFTC last September, while in May 2011 police swooped on the same location following allegations that the behemoth's AdMob platform was being used unlawfully to log private data.

The Asian regulatory body's latest bust compounds the legal pressure on Google at the moment. Brussels recently set a 2 July deadline for the company to respond to allegations that it has similarly abused its dominant position in European markets.