Amazon is facing new legal challenges in a dispute with Future Group By Reuters sources



© Reuters. PHOTOGRAPHY: The Amazon logo is pictured inside the company’s office in Bengaluru, India, April 20, 2018. REUTERS / Abhishek N. Chinappa


Written by Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Inc. (NASDAQ 🙂 has filed new lawsuits in its long-running dispute with India’s Future Group after a national antitrust agency suspended a deal between the two sides in 2019, leading to a halt to their arbitration, four sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The Indian Competition Commission (CCI) last month suspended its approval of Amazon’s 2019 contract with Future, thwarting US e-commerce giant’s attempts to block the sale of Future’s retail assets to India’s market leader Reliance Industries.

The suspension shook Amazon as a New Delhi court later halted arbitration proceedings between the two sides.

Late Saturday night, Amazon filed an appeal against the decision to suspend the CCI to India’s State Court of Appeals for Company Law, two sources said.

Separately, two other sources said, Amazon also appealed to the Supreme Court against a Delhi court ruling last week that judges said Future-Amazon arbitration must remain pending until Feb. 1 in light of the suspension of the antitrust deal.

Amazon and CCI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The demands are the latest in a bitter legal dispute involving Amazon, Future and Reliance over what is seen as a struggle for dominance in retail in India’s booming consumer market.

Reliance, run by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, wants to expand its footprint by buying debt-laden Future, but Amazon told the Indian antitrust authority that it believes Reliance’s consolidated position will “further restrict competition in the Indian retail market”.

Amazon has long claimed that Future violated the terms of its 2019 contract when it decided to sell retail assets to Reliance. The position of the American company has so far been supported by the Singapore arbitrator and Indian courts. The future denies any injustice.

But after the CCI suspended the approval of the deal, saying Amazon had withheld information while seeking approval for the deal, Future argued that Amazon no longer had any legal basis to initiate the dispute.

Both of Amazon’s appeals, to the Indian court and the Supreme Court, are likely to be heard in the coming days, two sources said.

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