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Amazon says interim stay on Future-RIL deal by Singapore arbitrator; Future says order should be tested under Indian law

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Amazon had sought emergency arbitration to seek a stay on the deal until the arbitration process is complete, sources told CNBC-TV18.

Amazon on Sunday said that it had been granted relief by an emergency arbitrator in Singapore to get an interim stay on Future Group's deal with Reliance Retail, in which Reliance has sought to purchase Future's retail assets.
Amazon had sought emergency arbitration to seek a stay on the deal until the arbitration process is complete, sources told CNBC-TV18.
In a statement, Amazon said: "We welcome the award of the Emergency Arbitrator. We are grateful for the order which grants all the reliefs that were sought. We remain committed to an expeditious conclusion of the arbitration process."
Reliance Retail said that the company was informed of an interim order passed by the Emergency Arbitrator in the arbitration proceedings invoked by Amazon under a shareholders’ agreement with the promoters of Future Group.
"RRVL has entered into the transaction for the acquisition of assets and business of Future Retail Limited under proper legal advice and the rights and obligations are fully enforceable under Indian law," said Reliance Retail.
RRVL intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future Group without any delay, it added.
Future Retail Limited (FRL) said the company is examining the communication and the order. It added that FRL is not a party to the agreement under which
Amazon has invoked arbitration proceedings.
"FRL has been legally advised that actions taken by the FRL / its board, which are in full compliance of the relevant agreements and eminently in the interest of all stakeholders cannot be held back in arbitration proceedings initiated under an agreement to which FRL is not a party," it said in a statement.
"As per the advice received by FRL, all relevant agreements are governed by Indian Law and provisions of Indian Arbitration Act for all intents and purposes and this matter raises several fundamental jurisdictional issues which go to the root of the matter," added the company.
FRL said the order will have to be tested under the provisions of the Indian Arbitration Act in an appropriate forum and added that in any enforcement proceedings, it would take appropriate steps to ensure that the proposed transaction will proceed unhindered without any delay.
Amazon was represented by Gopal Subramanium, QC, Senior Counsel, Gourab Banerji, QC, Senior Counsel, Amit Sibal, Senior Counsel; Alvin Yeo, Senior Counsel, and AZB& Partners, P&A Law Offices and WongPartnership LLP.
Amazon had approached the Singapore International Arbitration Centre against the Future-RIL deal earlier this month, citing that its contract with Future Group gave it the first right of refusal and that it had a non-compete clause which prevented Future Group from approaching Reliance.
Sources said that the contract also allowed for arbitration in Singapore in case of dispute.
Amazon had taken a 49 percent stake in Future Coupons last year, which gave it a small stake in Future Retail as well.

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