Amazon.com Inc has asked market regulator to investigate Future Retail Ltd for insider trading, a letter seen by Reuters showed, as it seeks to prevent its business partner from becoming part of rival Reliance’s empire.
The US giant has been pressing the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to review Reliance’s August deal to buy retail, logistics and other assets from Future Group for $3.4 billion including debt.
Amazon argues it had a 2019 agreement with Future which prevented the Indian group’s retail assets from being sold to certain parties including Reliance Industries Ltd, which is led by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.
The November 8 letter to SEBI alleges Future Retail disclosed to Reliance price sensitive details of an injunction granted by a Singapore arbitrator to block the deal.
The spat is being closely watched as a key test of whether Indian firms, courts and regulators will respect arbitration decisions made in accordance with overseas arbitration rules, and adds to headaches for Amazon in India which is also dealing with antitrust challenges.
The injunction was granted on Sunday October 25 and was reported by media with Amazon issuing a short statement saying it welcomed the decision.
Reliance later that evening said in a stock exchange filing that it had been informed of the arbitration order and would enforce its rights to complete the deal with Future without delay.
It is this October 25 filing which Amazon argues in its 20-page letter that indicates Mr Ambani’s group was privy to “price sensitive” details of the injunction.