Govt may investigate Amazon bribery charges, say officials

  • The officials were reacting to a report published on Monday by the website The Morning Context, which said the US-headquartered e-commerce firm had opened an investigation after a whistleblower said lawyers associated with the company bribed officials
Amazon India on Monday said it has zero tolerance for corruption, and it takes appropriate action against any such practice after an investigation.(Reuters)
Amazon India on Monday said it has zero tolerance for corruption, and it takes appropriate action against any such practice after an investigation.(Reuters)
Updated on Sep 21, 2021 09:39 AM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India may investigate allegations that lawyers representing Amazon bribed officials, provided there is some evidence to that effect, two government officials said, asking not to be named.

The officials were reacting to a report published on Monday by the website The Morning Context, which said the US-headquartered e-commerce firm had opened an investigation after a whistleblower said lawyers associated with the company bribed officials. “The online retailer is looking into the conduct of its legal representatives in India after allegations of corruption come to light,” the report said.

Reacting to the report, Amazon India on Monday said it has zero tolerance for corruption, and it takes appropriate action against any such practice after an investigation. “We have zero tolerance for corruption. We take allegations of improper actions seriously, investigate them fully, and take appropriate action,” a spokesperson said when asked to comment on the report, without offering details. “We are not commenting on specific allegations or the status of any investigation at this time.”

The whistleblower pointed to the role of an independent lawyer hired by the company, The Morning Context report said, citing unnamed people aware of the matter. The legal fees paid to the lawyer was in part “funnelled into bribing government officials”, the report said, citing the whistleblower. A senior corporate counsel at Amazon’s in-house legal team has been suspended, the website reported.

The government is yet to receive any information or formal complaint on the matter, one of the government officials said.

“Even the news report does not provide any specific detail about the alleged bribe, such as which era, which state, and who were the recipients of illegal gratification,” the official pointed out.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021