2021 is turning to be a tough year for giants of the tech world, as governments grow more and more weary of monopolies. Amazon, which is perhaps the biggest name in the tech world, is currently facing a probe by the CCI for alleged violations of Indian laws. However, it looks like the e-commerce behemoth’s problems in India are far from over, as Amazon has now launched a probe into the conduct of its legal representatives in the world’s second-largest internet market.
India is one of the key markets of Amazon- in fact, the company has invested over $6.5 billion in India, and Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy is targeting the country for growth. In India, Amazon is competing against Walmart’s Flipkart and Mukesh Ambani’s retail websites including JioMart. It has over 1,00,000 employees across India and has pledged to digitize 10 million small businesses, enable $10 billion in exports and create two million jobs in the country by 2025. Amazon has faced several challenges in pursuit of its goal, and the latest development comes following a whistleblower’s complaint who alleged that one or more of the company’s legal representatives had bribed government officials.
This was disclosed in a report by The Morning Context, a two-year-old media site.
For now, Amazon has sent senior corporate counsel Rahul Sundaram on leave and is investigating whether the legal fees it had financed had been used for bribing government officials.
Even though Amazon has been accused of circumventing and violating Indian laws and using anti-competitive practices, preferring certain sellers over others, and predatory pricing, the company has made its stance clear on the matter. “We take allegations of improper actions seriously, investigate them fully, and take appropriate action. We are not commenting on specific allegations or the status of any investigation at this time,” a spokesperson for Amazon said, adding that the company had “zero tolerance” for corruption.
It’s still not clear what this accusations would mean for Amazon, which counts India as one of its largest markets thanks to its vast population and one of the cheapest data rates in the world. Nonetheless, it’s not looking great for the e-commerce giant, especially when it’s already under a CCI probe and has just resurfaced from a major legal battle with Reliance and Future Group.