Amazon Starts Probe over Bribe to gov’t Officials by its Lawyers in India, Report says

According to the Morning Context, an Indian news and commentary outlet, Amazon has initiated an investigation into the conduct of its legal agents in India, following a complaint from a whistleblower who claimed that one or more of the company’s representatives had paid government officials.

The corporation is looking into whether legal fees paid by it were used to bribe government officials, according to the newspaper, which cited anonymous sources and did not name the officials. According to the story (paywalled), Amazon has placed Rahul Sundaram, a senior corporate lawyer, on leave.

An Amazon spokeswoman told TechCrunch that the business has “zero tolerance” for corruption, but declined to comment on the inquiry.

“We take claims of wrongdoing seriously, conduct thorough investigations, and take necessary action. At this point, we are unable to comment on particular claims or the status of any investigation,” the representative continued.

India is one of Amazon’s most important international markets. In recent years, the American e-commerce company has aggressively grown into several categories and invested over $6.5 billion in its South Asian operations.

The news comes months after Reuters claimed that Amazon had discreetly favored big vendors, misrepresented its ties with them, and exploited such deals to get around the South Asian country’s foreign investment regulations.

In India, Amazon is also the subject of an ongoing antitrust inquiry. Local authorities summoned and questioned a top-level executive at the firm earlier this year over allegations that one of its political dramas on Prime Video offended religious sentiments and sparked public wrath, despite the company’s unsuccessful appeal.

After the nine-part miniseries, the firm made a rare apology to Indian users. The news comes months after Reuters claimed that Amazon had discreetly favored big vendors, misrepresented its ties with them, and exploited such deals to get around the South Asian country’s foreign investment regulations.

In India, Amazon is also the subject of an ongoing antitrust inquiry. Local authorities summoned and questioned a top-level executive at the firm earlier this year over allegations that one of its political dramas on Prime Video offended religious sentiments and sparked public wrath, despite the company’s unsuccessful appeal.