Amazon.com Inc is taking Enforcement Directorate (ED) to courtroom, looking for to quash an investigation into certainly one of its 2019 offers, a courtroom submitting seen by Reuters exhibits.
ED has for months been probing Amazon’s $200 million funding in Future Group for suspected violations of international funding legal guidelines.
The funding is on the centre of protracted authorized battles, as Amazon has used the phrases of that deal – and cited contract breaches by Future – to stall the $3.4 billion sale of the Indian firm’s retail property to a rival.
In an 816-page submitting, seen by Reuters, Amazon calls the investigation a “fishing and roving” inquiry, saying the ED had sought privileged authorized recommendation and opinions from Amazon and different info not related to the Future Group deal.
Multiple Amazon executives, together with its India head, had been summoned by the ED in latest weeks and the investigation had induced “unnecessary harassment,” the US e-commerce large mentioned in its submitting to the Delhi High Court on December 21.
“The directions by the ED asking for disclosure of legally privileged documents and litigation privilege information is derogatory of the principles” specified by Indian structure, Amazon mentioned within the submitting, which isn’t public.
“The investigation is a fishing and roving exercise.”
Amazon and the ED, which doesn’t make particulars of its investigations public, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. The case will seemingly be heard on Thursday.
The submitting is the newest twist within the long-running dispute between Amazon and Future. Though Competition Commission of India suspended their 2019 deal final week, saying Amazon had suppressed info when looking for approvals for it, the ED’s probe is unbiased of that.
The dispute centres round three industrial agreements signed between Future and Amazon entities, which a Singapore arbitration panel – additionally listening to the dispute – has mentioned have to be learn collectively when reviewing the transaction.
Future contends conflating the industrial agreements would successfully imply the deal violated Indian regulation.
Amazon’s courtroom submitting contained a discover from the ED dated February 19 which sought particulars of its funding in Future, together with copies of agreements, checking account particulars and different associated inner communication.
It additionally confirmed the ED is conducting a far wider probe, and had sought particulars of massive distributors on Amazon’s e-commerce web site in India, together with gross sales numbers for those who account for greater than 5 per cent of whole gross sales on Amazon.in.
The discover got here after a February Reuters investigation which discovered Amazon helped a small variety of sellers prosper on its Indian platform, giving them discounted charges and utilizing them to bypass international funding legal guidelines.
Amazon mentioned on the time it was assured it complied with rules and that it “does not give preferential treatment to any seller on its marketplace.”