Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos is being summoned to testify before congress over allegations that the retailer misled and potentially lied to congress.
The House Judiciary Committee has written a letter to Bezos, penned by seven of its leaders, demanding his testimony over statements made by an Amazon witness in July which now appear to have been “misleading, and possibly criminally false”.
These statements, made by Amazon’s associate general counsel Nate Sutton, alleged that Amazon did not use data of individual sellers to inform its strategy on own-brand products.
Last week an investigation by the Wall Street Journal was published in which former employees said they had used non-aggregated or easily identifiable data from sellers to inform its strategy.
“Although we expect that you will testify on a voluntary basis, we reserve the right to resort to compulsory process if necessary,” the letter read.
The House Antitrust Subcommittee chairman David Cicilline added on Twitter: “As CEO and founder of the company, (Bezos) must be accountable for Amazon’s record of dishonesty before Congress. In light of the gravity of this situation, I am also considering whether a perjury referral is warranted.”
The Wall Street Journal’s also found that some aggregate reports contained just two sellers easily exposing the performance metrics of individuals.
Amazon told CNBC in response to the allegations that it does not allow employees to use “non-public, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch”
“It’s simply incorrect to suggest that Amazon was intentionally misleading in our testimony”.
Cicilline is spearheading an investigation into the retail giant in regarding competition in digital markets, and plans to create bipartisan regulatory proposals to address issues he uncovers.
This report was originally due for submission in April but has now been delayed due to the pandemic.