A senior agency source told on Friday that India’s Enforcement Directorate has actually asked Amazon for details about its activities in the country as the agency proceeds to probe the US e-commerce giant.
Last month, an official at the country’s federal financial-crime-fighting agency said that the Directorate would look into the results of a recent report that disclosed the company has given special treatment to a small group of traders on its India marketplace for years, enabling them to bypass the nation’s foreign investment laws.
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The department has been investigating Amazon for many years for alleged violations of foreign investment laws. In India, such investigations can take years, and the results are rarely made public.
Internal Amazon records from 2012 to 2019 were included in the Reuters special report. It gave some inside look at Amazon’s cat-and-mouse game with India’s government, in which the company changed its organizational structures in response to new government regulations aimed at protecting small traders.
“Obviously, we have sought information” from Amazon, a senior Enforcement Directorate source told Reuters on Friday.
“Information means information and documentation,” the source said when asked if the agency had requested documents from the company.
The source would not elaborate on the documents requested or whether any company executives had been summoned for questioning. In India, an Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.
Amazon said in a report released last month that it was confident in its compliance with Indian law. It went on to say that it “does not give any seller on its marketplace preferential treatment,” and that it “treats all sellers in an equal, open, and nondiscriminatory manner.”
Retailers in India, who make up a large part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support base, have long argued that e-commerce beasts like Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart breach federal regulations and harm small businesses.
According to documents checked, Amazon supported a limited number of sellers succeed on its India website by offering them reduced fees and assisting one in negotiating exclusive deals with big tech companies like Apple.
The corporation has also exerted considerable influence over the inventory of some of Amazon’s largest retailers, according to the records, despite its public statement that all sellers on its website function independently.