Jeff Bezos may have lied to Congress about Amazon’s practices, five House lawmakers claim

Amazon accused of copying products and manipulating search results in India - a practice it has denied

Bevan Hurley
Monday 18 October 2021 15:24
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Lawmakers have written to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to accuse the company’s senior executives including founder Jeff Bezos of lying or misleading the House Judiciary committee.

The letter cites a recent Reuters investigation into the e-commerce giant’s business practices that alleged the company had “copied products and rigged search results” in India to help the sale of its own brands.

Amazon has denied the practice.

Five members of Congress told Mr Jassy in the letter they are weighing up whether to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.

The letter states that the Reuters investigation and other recent news reports contradicted testimony given to the House Judiciary committee by senior Amazon executives – “including former CEO Jeffrey Bezos.”

Mr Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon in July to focus on his Blue Origin space flight company.

In a statement to The Independent, Amazon denied any of its executives had misled the committee.

“Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question.

“As we have previously stated, we have an internal policy, which goes beyond that of any other retailer’s policy that we’re aware of, that prohibits the use of individual seller data to develop Amazon private label products. We investigate any allegations that this policy may have been violated and take appropriate action.”

Jeff Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO, but retained his position as executive chairman

Last week, Reuters published an investigation into the Amazon India subsidiary of the global giant.

Citing internal documents including one called “India Private Brands Program”, Reuters found that the Amazon India team would use “sales and customer review data” of brands sold on its platform and then “replicate and sell” similar items themselves.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the allegations were “incorrect and unsubstantiated.”

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said the Reuters report proved that the company had too much power over the tech sector, and once again called for the tech giant to be broken up.

“These documents show what we feared about Amazon’s monopoly power – that the company is willing and able to rig its platform to benefit its bottom line while stiffing small businesses and entrepreneurs. This is one of the many reasons we need to break it up,” she wrote.

Mr Bezos is still the executive chairman at Amazon.

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