Image for article titled Congressional Committee Torches Amazon for Allegedly Lying to Obstruct Antitrust Probe

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Key members of an influential congressional committee requested the Justice Department to criminally examine Amazon for alleged obstruction Wednesday after the corporate allegedly went to nice lengths to stall the committee’s current antitrust probe.

The 24-page letter, describes a damning historical past of Amazon representatives mendacity to Congress on a number of events, in addition to frequent failures to supply requested documentation—together with inside audits and communications associated to the investigation.

The letter, dated March 9, accuses Amazon of being “caught in a lie and repeated misrepresentations,” and likewise alleges that the corporate subsequently “attempted to cover up its lie by offering ever-shifting explanations” of its practices and insurance policies. In one particular case, an govt claimed below oath that Amazon didn’t use knowledge about particular third-party sellers to tell its personal product improvement. However, former staff informed The Wall Street Journal that’s precisely what the corporate does.

When reached for remark by Gizmodo, an Amazon spokesperson denied the corporate’s wrongdoing.

“There’s no factual basis for this, as demonstrated in the huge volume of information we’ve provided over several years of good-faith cooperation with this investigation,” the spokesperson mentioned.

According to the letter, Amazon’s attorneys have repeatedly tried to invoke attorney-client-privilege and attorney-work-product-privilege to abstain from sharing requested paperwork, a protection the committee blasted as “invalid on its face.” Lawmakers mentioned the corporate has withheld a considerable variety of paperwork “without valid justification.”

The Antitrust Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee spent the previous couple of years investigating claims of anti-competitive practices among the many tech business’s largest gamers, particularly Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Google. The subcommittee’s dealings with Amazon have been particularly combative, according to The Wall Street Journal, as lawmakers sought to find out whether or not Amazon had used its huge reservoirs of knowledge about third-party sellers to create its personal practically an identical merchandise. The firm has additionally been accused of rigging its search engine outcomes to favor its personal private-label merchandise over third-party sellers.

The letter paints an image of an evasive and dishonest firm, calling its testimony and statements “inaccurate and misleading.”

Committee members summarized their impressions bluntly, writing, “What Amazon does not appear to take seriously is its obligation to provide truthful and complete responses to Committee inquiries.”

Lying to Congress—below oath or in any other case—can get you in a complete lot of hassle, on condition that it’s a federal crime. Whether the Justice Department will in the end pursue an investigation into Amazon’s practices stays unclear, and the Department did touch upon the letter to Gizmodo.

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