Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify before US Congress in competition probe

Mumbai | Updated on June 17, 2020

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has agreed to testify to a United States congressional panel’s tech competition probe, according to reports.

The United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary last week had written a letter to Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook asking them to confirm if the CEOs will testify in the committee’s ongoing probe into tech competition, Axios had reported.

Amazon’s attorney Robert Kelner of Covington and Burling LLP. sent a letter to members of the committee confirming Amazon’s compliance with the probe.

“This includes making Jeff Bezos available to testify at a hearing with the other CEOs this summer,” the letter read as quoted by the report.

The letter had also hinted at possible subpoenas for testimony if the CEOs disagree to voluntarily testify in the hearing.

"These are documents that are essential to complete our ongoing, bipartisan investigation of the digital marketplace," committee chair David Cicilline said in a statement as quoted by the Axios report.

Amazon and the committee will need to “resolve a number of questions regarding timing, format, and outstanding document production issues, all necessarily framed by the extraordinary demands of the global pandemic,” Kelner’s letter said as quoted by Reuters.

The Amazon CEO had also been summoned for an investigation into its business practices and its treatment of its online sellers earlier in May.

The United States House Judiciary Committee last month has sent a letter Bezos calling on him to appear before the Committee to testify about the company’s business practices.

The letter had cited a recent report by the Wall Street Journal that had claimed that Amazon employees had access to third-party seller data in order to create similar private-label products.

“On April 23, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon used sensitive business information from third-party sellers on its platform to develop competing products, contradicting representations that Amazon made to the House Judiciary Committee in sworn written and oral testimony at a hearing on July 16, 2019. Amazon's associate general counsel, Nate Sutton, denied the company did this during his sworn testimony before the Antitrust Subcommittee last July,” the letter read.

“If the reporting in the Wall Street Journal article is accurate, then statements Amazon made to the Committee about the company’s business practices appear to be misleading, and possibly criminally false or perjurious,” it further read.

The hearing for the antitrust committee’s probe is likely to be held in July as per the Axios report.

Published on June 17, 2020

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