Amazon sues ED in latest twist of Future Group battle

New Delhi: Amazon is taking India’s financial crime-fighting agency to court, seeking to quash an investigation into one of its 2019 deals, a court filing seen by Reuters shows.


India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) has for months been probing Amazon’s $200 million investment in India’s Future Group for suspected violations of foreign investment laws.


The investment is at the center of protracted legal battles, as Amazon has used the terms of that deal – and cited contract breaches by Future – to stall the $3.4 billion sale of the Indian company’s retail assets to a rival.


In an 816-page filing, seen by Reuters, Amazon calls the investigation a “fishing and roving” inquiry, saying the ED had sought privileged legal advice and opinions from Amazon and other information not connected to the Future Group deal.


Multiple Amazon executives, including its India head, had been summoned by the ED in recent weeks and the investigation had caused “unnecessary harassment,” the U.S. e-commerce giant said in its filing to the Delhi High Court on Dec. 21.


“The directions by the ED asking for disclosure of legally privileged documents and litigation privilege information is derogatory of the principles” laid out in the Indian constitution, Amazon said in the filing, which is not public.


“The investigation is a fishing and roving exercise.”


Amazon and the ED, which does not make details of its investigations public, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


The filing is the latest twist in the long-running dispute between Amazon and Future. Though India’s antitrust body suspended their 2019 deal last week, saying Amazon had suppressed information when seeking approvals for it, the ED’s probe is independent of that.



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