Jeff Bezos “might have lied to Congress” about Amazon’s enterprise practices when he mentioned that the corporate doesn’t use information from third-party sellers to develop its personal merchandise, in keeping with a scathing letter from a bunch of bipartisan legislators.
The information comes after a Reuters investigation printed final Wednesday confirmed that Amazon tracked search and gross sales information from third-party sellers to assist develop its personal non-public label merchandise in India — a follow that Bezos denied partaking in when he testified to Congress beneath oath in 2020.
Citing the Reuters reporting, a bunch of Congress members together with Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Ken Buck (R-Colo) despatched a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Sunday threatening to ask the Division of Justice to open a prison probe.
“At greatest, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the Committee,” wrote the lawmakers in a replica of the letter shared with The Submit. “At worst, it demonstrates that they could have lied to Congress in attainable violation of federal prison regulation.”
“We strongly encourage you to utilize this chance to appropriate the report and supply the Committee with sworn, truthful, and correct responses to this request as we take into account whether or not a referral of this matter to the Division of Justice for prison investigation is suitable,” added the legislators, who additionally included Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI), Pramila Jayapal (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
The lawmakers additionally cited reporting from the Wall Avenue Journal and the Markup about Amazon’s private-label enterprise.
An Amazon spokesperson denied that Bezos lied to Congress and mentioned media studies on the matter had been inaccurate.
“Amazon and its executives didn’t mislead the committee, and we have now denied and sought to appropriate the report on the incorrect media articles in query,” the spokesperson mentioned in an e mail to The Submit. “As we have now beforehand acknowledged, we have now an inner coverage, which works past that of some other retailer’s coverage that we’re conscious of, that prohibits the usage of particular person vendor information to develop Amazon non-public label merchandise.”
Along with bashing Bezos, the lawmakers’ letter additionally names Amazon’s affiliate basic counsel Nate Sutton, who testified in 2019 — in addition to basic counsel David Zapolsky and public coverage vp Brian Huseman.
Statements made by all 4 executives have been contradicted by current media studies, the lawmakers mentioned.
When Bezos testified in Congress final 12 months, he mentioned the e-commerce large has a rule prohibiting its staff from utilizing information on third-party sellers to assist its private-label enterprise.
“If we discovered somebody violated it, we might take motion,” mentioned Bezos, who was Amazon CEO on the time however has since stepped down.
Amazon is at the moment squaring off in opposition to antitrust regulators within the US, European Union and India, who’re all investigating the corporate for allegedly utilizing its measurement to squash competitors.
Within the US, Federal Commerce Fee chief Lina Khan wrote in a 2017 paper that Amazon’s private-brand enterprise raises competitors issues.
“It’s third-party sellers who bear the preliminary prices and uncertainties when introducing new merchandise; by merely recognizing them, Amazon will get to promote merchandise solely as soon as their success has been examined,” she wrote. “The anticompetitive implications right here appear clear.”
Amazon, in the meantime, has referred to as on Khan to recuse herself from any investigations of the corporate as a result of she has written critically about it prior to now.