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Amazon spent 8,546 crores on legal matters in India, CAIT raised demand for CBI investigation

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Sources said that Amazon’s units- Amazon Retail India Pvt Ltd, Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd, Amazon Transportation Services Pvt Ltd, Amazon Wholesale (India) Pvt Ltd. and Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd (AWS)- spent Rs 3,420 crore as legal fees in 2018-19. In 2019-20, the company spent Rs 5,126 crore on legal matters.

‘Expenditure on other professional services, not just on lawyers’

Though Amazon initially declined to comment on the query, but in the evening an Amazon spokesperson said that a line item has been wrongly taken in the statutory details submitted on legal fees. In fact it is related to legal and professional expenses. This includes not only legal expenses, but also other professional services like outsourcing, tax advisory, customer outreach, logistics support service, merchant engagement and customer services. The spokesperson said that out of the total legal and professional expenditure of Rs 1,967 crore in the financial year ended March 31, 2020, the legal fee was only Rs 52 crore.

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Amazon is currently embroiled in a legal battle over the acquisition of Future Group. Apart from this, she is also facing the investigation of Competition Commission of India (CCI). However, the company declined to comment on the issue of legal fees.

CAT raises questions with allegations of giving bribe

Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAT) has claimed that Amazon is spending 20 percent of the revenue on lawyers, which raises a question mark. CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a letter to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, “The manner in which Amazon and its subsidiaries are spending on fees of legal professionals, shows how the company is misusing its financial power in India. Giving bribe to government officials. However, he has demanded a CBI inquiry without giving any evidence in support of his claim.

A Morning Context report on Monday said that Amazon has launched an investigation into some of its legal representatives for allegedly bribing Indian government officials. A senior corporate lawyer is understood to have been sent on leave in this case. The company says that it takes allegations of unfair action seriously and conducts a thorough investigation for appropriate action. However, he neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.

Khandelwal claimed in a statement that Amazon spent an amount of Rs 8,500 crore during 2018-20 towards payment of fees to legal and professionals. The turnover of the company in these two years was Rs 45,000 crore.

(This news has not been edited by NDTV team. It has been published directly from Syndicate feed.)

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