Asian suppliers mum on Apple-kickback allegations

Companies identified in court documents weren't prepared to comment on Monday

Electronics component suppliers that allegedly paid kickbacks to gain business from Apple declined to comment on the allegations when contacted on Monday.

"I can't comment on anything right now," said Andric Ng, CEO of Singapore's Jin Li Mould Manufacturing, which was one of the companies named in papers filed last week with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

China's Kaeder Electronics declined to comment and Paul Kim, an employee of South Korea's Cresyn, said there were no staff in the company's Seoul office able to answer questions regarding the allegations.

The three suppliers and three others are alleged to have paid around US$1 million to Paul Shin Devine in return for information that enabled them to negotiate favorable contracts from Apple, reported the San Jose Mercury news. Devine allegedly shared the kickbacks with Andrew Ang, an employee of Jin Li who the indictment said helped broker deals with his employer and others

Devine was global operations manager for Apple's iPod music player and had worked at the company for five years, according to his profile on the LinkedIn social networking site. Prior to working at Apple, he was a product manager at Teledyne and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, the profile says.

A federal indictment changes both Devine and Ang with wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy. Devine is additionally charged with money laundering and monetary transactions with criminally derived property.

The payments were allegedly sent to Asian bank accounts opened in the name of Devine's wife in small amounts so they would avoid attention, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

He is due to appear in court in San Jose at 1:30pm today.

Sumner Lemon in Singapore and Michael Kan in Beijing contributed to this story.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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