Indian court stalls Amazon, Flipkart antitrust probes

FILE PHOTO: A shipment moves on a conveyor belt at an Amazon Fulfillment Centre (BLR7) on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/ Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File Photo

An Indian antitrust investigation of Amazon.com Inc and Walmart’s Flipkart has been put on hold by a court, three lawyers involved in the proceedings told Reuters on Friday.

Amazon this week challenged the investigation in a court in Bengaluru and the court has granted a stay of two months, according to a lawyer from P&A Law Offices representing Amazon and two other legal counsels involved in the matter.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last month ordered a probe into Amazon and Flipkart over alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices.

“This comes as a major relief,” said the Amazon counsel, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to media.

The CCI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The CCI ordered its probe after a New Delhi-based trader group complained that the e-commerce giants were promoting select sellers and in turn hurting business for other smaller players.

Over three days of hearings in the Bengaluru court, Amazon denied the allegations and argued that CCI did not have sufficient evidence to order the probe.

A lawyer for the Indian trader group, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, said he would appeal against the court’s decision to put the investigation on hold.

Amazon and Flipkart have faced mounting criticism from Indian retailers who accuse them of violating local laws by racking up billions of dollars of losses to fund deep discounts and discriminating against small sellers.

The companies deny the allegations.

Last month, the trade minister said Amazon wasn’t doing India any “great favor” by announcing $1 billion in investment, laying bare the tensions with the U.S. online retailer.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.