India's anti-money laundering agency summons Amazon

Amazon alleged last week that money from the local firm may have been diverted to other companies. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - An Indian government agency has summoned Amazon.com's top management in the country along with officials from Future Coupons Pvt Ltd to query them about a botched deal, The Economic Times newspaper reported on Sunday (Nov 28).

The Enforcement Directorate - the agency that investigates offences related to money laundering - is examining whether Amazon was in breach of India's foreign exchange laws when it invested 14.3 billion rupees (S$261 million) to purchase a 49 per cent stake in FCPL in 2019, the newspaper said.

FCPL owns about 10 per cent of Future Retail, the flagship entity that runs the Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar and Easyday chains.

An Amazon spokesperson told the newspaper that "We are in receipt of summons issued by the ED in connection with the Future Group. As we have just received the summons, we are examining it and will respond within the given time frame."

The Future Group didn't respond to the Economic Times' request for comment.

Amazon, which is trying to block Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani from taking over the struggling Future retail chain, alleged last week that money from the local firm may have been diverted to other companies.

Ambani's Reliance Industries and Jeff Bezos-founded Amazon are fighting for a bigger slice of the only billion-people-plus consumer market that's still open to foreign firms.

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