Row with Amazon: Future Retail questions Singapore court’s jurisdiction

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on October 27, 2020

Says not party to deal with Amazon; pact with Reliance Retail governed by Indian laws

Future Retail has questioned the jurisdiction of the Singapore International Arbitration Court (SIAC) to give a ruling in the ongoing dispute with Amazon over the deal with Reliance Retail. The Kishore Biyani-promoted retail company has said that its deal with Reliance Industries cannot be held back by the arbitration proceedings because it was not party to any agreement with Amazon.

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Interim stay

On Sunday, the arbitrator looking into the dispute between Amazon and Future group had put an interim stay on the latter’s ₹25,000-crore deal with Reliance Retail. Former Attorney-General of Singapore VK Rajah, the arbitrator, said that it was prudent for an interim stay in the deal as it was “disputed”.

‘Full compliance’

Responding to the arbitrator’s interim order, Future Retail said it has been legally advised that its deal with Reliance was fully compliant with relevant agreements and eminently in the interest of all stakeholders.

“As per the advice received by Future Retail, all relevant agreements are governed by Indian law and provisions of Indian Arbitration Act for all intents and purposes and this matter raises several fundamental jurisdictional issues which go to the root of the matter. Accordingly, this order will have to be tested under the provisions of Indian Arbitration Act in an appropriate forum,” the statement said.

Reliance Retail also said that it will go ahead with the deal to acquire Future Retail. “Reliance Retail intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future group without any delay,” it said.

While Amazon did not comment on the stand taken by Future and Reliance, sources close to the American company said the contract between Amazon and Future provided for arbitration at SIAC in case of dispute.

If Future Retail and Reliance Retail had an issue with proceedings at SIAC, why did they even appear at the emergency arbitration hearing last Friday, they said, adding: “On the basis of the interim stay, Amazon is likely to approach local Indian judicial authorities to get it enforced.”

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Published on October 26, 2020

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