Amazon may have lied to congress according to US lawmakers

Amazon has been accused by US lawmakers of either misleading or lying to congress about its business practises, according to Reuters.

Five members of the US House Judiciary committee wrote to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy and accused some of the company’s top executives, including founder Jeff Bezos of not being transparent enough about its business operations.

The letter also claims that the committee is considering “whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate.”

It came after an investigation by Reuters last week which showed that the company had conducted a systemic campaign of copying products and rigging search results in India to boost the sale of its own-branded goods, with Amazon however denying the accusations.

The letter written claims that the “credible reporting” by Reuters and recent articles from other news outlets “directly contradicts the sworn testimony and representations of Amazon’s top executives, including former CEO Jeffrey Bezos.”

“At best, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the Committee.

READ MORE: Amazon’s sign up bonuses are a “knock-out blow” for smaller businesses experts say

“At worst, it demonstrates that they may have lied to Congress in possible violation of federal criminal law,” the letter states.

Amazon responded by issuing a statement which read: “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.”

The House Judiciary Committee has been investigating competition in digital markets and how Amazon uses its proprietary seller data from its platform or whether the company unfairly favours its own products since 2019.

The House’s letter gives chief executive Jassy one “final opportunity” to provide evidence to corroborate the company’s prior testimony and statements.

It also notes that “it is criminally illegal to knowingly and willfully make statements that are materially false, conceal a material fact, or otherwise provide false documentation in response to a congressional investigation.”

Jassy has until November 1 to provide a sworn response to clarify how his company “uses non-public individual seller data to develop and market its own line of products” and how Amazon’s search rankings favor those products.

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