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Exclusive-Amazon plans to file criminal case against India’s Future over store transfers -sources -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A man examines trucks as they are about to enter the Amazon storage unit on the outskirts Mumbai, India. October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – Inc (NASDAQ) will initiate criminal proceedings against Future Retail in India this week for allowing assets transfer to a major competitor despite a prohibition. Three sources who have direct knowledge of the matter informed Reuters.

Amazon and Future Group were locked in a long-running legal battle that has prevented Future from selling assets valued at $3.4 Billion to Reliance Industries.

Amazon successfully stopped Future from selling assets to Reliance’s rival in 2020. They cited violations of contracts.

Future, India’s 2nd largest retailer, denied any wrongdoing. A Singapore arbitrator supported Amazon’s position as well as Indian courts.

Reuters reports this week that Reliance has begun to acquire around 500 Future stores and rebrand them as its outlets.

Reliance previously transferred some leases from Future’s iconic supermarkets to it, but Future was allowed to keep them operating. Sources say that Reliance is now trying to acquire them, after Future stopped paying rent payments.

Amazon will file criminal proceedings against Future at a New Delhi Court and request that the court investigate the matter. One source who is directly aware of the plans said.

Another source said that the lawsuit could also be filed this week.

Reliance, Future and Amazon did not respond immediately to Reuters’ email requests for comment.

Amazon is claiming Future concealed information and transferred leases for its stores to competitor Reliance. This despite the fact that a Singapore arbitrator stopped any disposal or transfer of assets in an ongoing dispute.

This source said that Amazon will make a last effort to stop the deal.

This plan to initiate criminal court proceedings will mark an important escalation of the legal fight between Amazon and Indian rivals Future Retail and Reliance. It is headed by Mukesh Ambani, an Indian billionaire.

Future and Amazon are fighting for supremacy in India’s growing retail market. This is why the protracted dispute over Future’s assets has been viewed as a fight for retail supremacy.

Amazon had long maintained that Future’s transaction with Future-Reliance was illegal because it violated the 2019 terms of an agreement in which $200 million of U.S. funds were invested in part of Indian companies.

Debt-laden Future claimed that Amazon interferes with its retail business in error.

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