According to top US lawmakers, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and other executives may have misled Congress or lied about Amazon’s business practices.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee stated that they are considering refering the company “for criminal investigations”.
This follows an investigation conducted by Reuters, which found that Amazon had copied certain products in India and rigged search results to increase sales for its brands.
Amazon strongly refutes the allegation.
According to a spokesperson, Amazon and its executives were not misleading the committee. We have also denied the allegations and tried to rectify the records regarding the incorrect media articles.
Five members of the US House Judiciary Committee sent a Monday letter to Andy Jassy (Amazon boss who replaced Mr Bezos)
They claimed that “credible reporting”, Reuters, and other recent news articles “directly contradicts” the sworn testimony of Amazon’s executives, including Jeffrey Bezos.
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“At the very least, this report confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled Committee. The letter suggests that at worst it shows they could have lied about Congress in possible violations of federal criminal law.”
The House Judiciary Committee is investigating digital market competition, such as how Amazon collects third-party seller data and whether it unfairly favors its products.
Last year, Mr. Bezos sworn in before an anti-trust subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. He stated that Amazon prohibits employees from using information on sellers for their own product lines.
Amazon’s associate general attorney, Nate Sutton stated that the company never used this data to make its own products, or alter its search results for personal gain.
He stated that algorithms can be used to anticipate what customers would like to purchase, regardless of who the seller is.
These claims are not supported by Reuters’s investigation, which relied on thousands upon pages of Amazon internal documents that were leaked to them.
According to the news agency, Amazon in India had an undercover policy that manipulated search results to favor its own products and copied other sellers’ items.
Reuters claims that at the very least, two high-ranking executives knew about this policy.
In their letter, lawmakers also reference other stories from the Markup and Wall Street Journal as well as the Capitol Forum on Amazon’s use of data and private-brand products.
Mr Jassy has been given until 1 November by the lawmakers to submit evidence supporting previous testimony.
The letter further states that it is illegal to make materially false statements, hide a material fact or provide false documentation to Congress in response to an investigation.
The letter says, “We encourage you to use this opportunity to rectify the record… while we review whether a referral of the matter to the Department of Justice is appropriate for criminal investigation.”
Amazon spokesperson said in a statement that the statements made by Reuters, Amazon and other media outlets were inaccurate and unsubstantiated.
The authors added that they had an internal policy which prohibits individual sellers from using their data for the development of Amazon Private Label products.
We will investigate all allegations of violations to this policy and take the appropriate actions.”
Washington, Europe, and elsewhere have become increasingly concerned about big tech companies like Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon.
Regulators worry that they are too powerful and engaging in unjust practices that harm other companies.
A bipartisan group, including Democrats Jerrold Ndler, David Cicilline, Pramila Jayapal and Republicans Ken Buck, and Matt Gaetz, signed the lawmakers’ letter.
A trade association representing thousands brick-and mortar retailers in India urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday to act against Amazon.
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