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‘Amazon committed fraud’: CCI defends order suspending Future deal

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‘Amazon committed fraud’: CCI defends order suspending Future deal

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Amazon vs Future: CCI defended its 2019 order suspending approval for Amazon's investments in Future Coupons and maintained that the e-commerce giant indulged in misrepresentation to secure approval for the deal.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Monday defended its order suspending approval for Amazon's investments in Future Coupons in 2019 and maintained that the e-commerce giant indulged in misrepresentation to secure approval for the deal.
Amazon committed an act of fraud on CCI, the competition regulator told the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). It held that the firm indulged in misrepresentation, wilful omission, suppression and false representation to secure approval for its deal with Future group.
Amazon has shown no respect to the sovereign and statutory authority, CCI alleged, adding that the e-commerce giant made a strategic purchase in Future Coupons to exercise “strategic” control over Future Retail. Amazon investments were designed to enjoy control over Retail assets, it said.
The arguments, which the NCLAT will continue hearing on March 22, come against the backdrop of CCI’s order in December 2021 suspending over-two-year-old approval for Amazon's deal to acquire a 49 percent stake in FCPL and FRL promoter and also slapped a penalty of Rs 202 crore on the e-commerce major. CCI fined Amazon Rs 2 crore for suppressing information and Rs 200 crore for failure to notify combination in terms of the obligation.
Amazon has been objecting to the sell-off plans, accusing the Future Group of breaching its 2019 investment pact.
"Amazon had suppressed the actual scope of the Combination and had made false and incorrect statements in relation to the BCAs, which are intertwined into the scope and purpose of the Combination," the order read.
The regulatory body had again asked Amazon to file a detailed Form 11 for the transaction and deemed the then approval as invalid.
Amazon and Future Group have been engaged in a legal battle for more than a year now. Future has decided to sell its Big Bazaar retail business to Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL). Amazon, however, has been trying to block the sale of Future’s retail, wholesale, and logistics business to RIL Ltd for Rs 24,713 crore for allegedly violating contracts.
The e-commerce giant argues that its 2019 deal with a Future unit contained clauses prohibiting the group from selling its retail assets to anyone on a "restricted persons" list that included Reliance.
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