Business & Economy

Amazon accuses India’s Reliance group of fraud amid tussle over retail firm

New Delhi, Mar 15 (EFE).- American e-commerce and tech giant Amazon on Tuesday accused India’s Reliance conglomerate of fraud after the latter took over some assets of the Future Group, a retail firm whose ownership has become the subject of a complex legal dispute between the two companies.

The US-based firm’s reaction comes weeks after Reliance, owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, took over hundreds of retail stores run by the Future Group.

“It has now come to light that FRL (Future Retail Ltd) and its promoters have been trying to remove the substratum of the dispute by purportedly transferring and alienating FRL’s retail assets, comprising the retail stores, in favour” of Ambani’s group, Amazon said in advertisements published in several Indian newspapers.

“These actions have been done in a clandestine manner by playing a fraud” on Indian courts, said the company, owned by US entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, warning that these actions would be “liable for civil and criminal consequences under the law.”

The battle between Amazon and Reliance over the retailer has reached the Supreme Court of India, after a mediation process in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre

The US company has maintained in Indian courts that its acquisition of 49 percent of Future Coupons, a subsidiary of Future Group, for about $200 million was subject to Future Coupons having a veto over the sale of Future Retail to a list of entities, including Reliance.

In August 2020, Reliance had signed an agreement to take over the retail and logistics business of the Future Group for about $3.4 billion, triggering a legal battle that has continued since then, even though all three parties recently agreed to negotiate for a solution.

The Future Group defines itself the pioneer of modern retail networks in the country of 1.35 billion inhabitants, owing to its wholesale business, logistics division and more than 1,700 stores in over 400 cities across India.

But in a letter to the Indian National Securities Market Commission on Wednesday, the conglomerate acknowledged that it has lost almost 850 stores in a matter of weeks, as Reliance took over many of the stores due to Future’s inability to pay its growing debts.

In late February, amid repeated non-payments by Future, the Ambani-owned firmed decided to take control of the facilities to run its own stores. EFE


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