Amazon clarifies to govt on reported legal fee, says expense includes professional fee
Amazon has clarified to India’s Commerce Ministry on its reported legal fee of Rs.8546 in the past three years, saying the expense includes professional fees as well, according to sources. The clarification came after reports that Amazon spent about Rs.8,546 crore or USD 1.2 billion in legal and professional expenses during 2018-20 in the country. Reports came in US media quoting a whistleblower that Amazon’s accounts show that they have spent Rs.8546 crore in India for the past three years and this huge fund is believed to be bribery paid in India.
The news agency PTI reported on Thursday that according to sources, Amazon has written to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, saying these reports are inaccurate and “appears to stem from a misunderstanding” of some filings, in particular, a “legal and professional expense” line item that includes substantial non-legal expenses. PTI reports: “The letter, a copy of which was seen by PTI, was sent by Amazon Seller Services, the marketplace entity of the e-commerce giant in India on September 28. E-mails sent to Amazon did not elicit any response.” The letter also noted that these reports “incorrectly suggested” that an entity called Amazon India Ltd is an Amazon subsidiary and have improperly attributed its legal expenses to Amazon.
Amazon India Ltd is neither an Amazon subsidiary nor connected with Amazon in any way, the sources said. The e-commerce giant, which is said to be investigating alleged bribes paid by its legal representatives in India, said it is committed to conducting business legally and ethically in India in accordance with its Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and all applicable laws. “We expect the same from all of our employees and can assure you that we investigate all allegations of misconduct fully,” it added.
India’s biggest traders’ association CAIT is for past one year filing many complaints to the government on the “dubious practices” of Amazon. They accused Infosys promoter Narayan Murthy of lobbying for Amazon and alleged that Murthy-linked firm CloudTail is the main vendor of Amazon in India.
(Note: – Amazon India Limited is owned by two real estate entities — Parsvnath Developers Limited and Aadharshila Contractors Private Limited)
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