House panel calls for criminal investigation into Amazon

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House panel calls for criminal investigation into Amazon

A House committee on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to investigate Amazon and some of its executives, including the e-commerce giant, for criminal obstruction of congressional investigations.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, members of the House Judiciary Committee hindered their 16-month antitrust investigation by refusing to provide information on the company and lying about how it treats third-party sellers on its platform. accused of putting

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, said “in full investigation and follow-up inquiries, senior Amazon officials engaged in a pattern and practice of deceptive behavior before the committee.” In a letter to the Justice Department. “Amazon and its executives must be held accountable for this behavior.”

During its investigation, which opened in 2019, the House panel’s antitrust subcommittee focused on whether the company used data about its customers to compare sales of its private-label products to third-party vendors. done to take it forward. The lawmakers said in their letter that Amazon executives, including a lawyer who testified before the committee, repeatedly denied that the company used customer data to harm competition.

But The Wall Street Journal and The Markup later reported that former employees and internal documents showed that the company used the data to unfairly promote Amazon products on competitors and that the company’s products are being used on third-party products. Also used their ranking system to display Seller

“Amazon was caught in a lie,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

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Amazon spokeswoman Tina Pelke said in a statement on Wednesday that the lawmaker’s concerns were unfounded.

“There is no factual basis for this, as in the many years of good faith cooperation we have provided with this investigation, the vast amount of information we have provided,” she said.

A Justice Department spokesman said the agency had received the letter and was reviewing it.

The letter intensifies pressure on federal regulators to rein in Amazon’s power. The House committee accused Amazon of abusing its position in online commerce to harm competitors who rely on online platforms to sell goods. The panel’s antitrust subcommittee accused Amazon and other tech giants including Facebook, Google and Apple of abusing their monopoly power and called for sweeping changes to antitrust laws to undermine the dominance of the Silicon Valley giants.

The Federal Trade Commission launched an antitrust investigation into Amazon nearly two years ago, and the agency is also reviewing the company’s proposed $8.45 billion merger with Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Before becoming FTC president, Lena Khan was best known for a paper she wrote for the Yale Law Journal called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” which argued that even though it was more convenient and convenient for consumers, The company had abused its dominance by offering low prices.

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