Ecommerce giant Amazon on Tuesday put out a public notice in a newspaper accusing Future Retail (FRL) and its promoters of committing fraud after Reliance Industries (RIL) took over some retail stores of FRL.
Amazon is fighting a legal battle with FRL to stop the Kishore Biyani-led retailer’s $3.4 billion deal with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). In October 2020, Amazon sent legal notice to Future for the deal. It alleged it breached Future’s agreement with Amazon. In August 2019, Amazon had acquired a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons, the promoter entity of Future Retail, for about Rs 1,500 crore. It cited its non-compete agreement with Future as the deal specified any disputes would be arbitrated under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rules.
Ahead of a crucial hearing in the Supreme Court today, Amazon has in a public notice reserved the right to civil and criminal legal recourse against FRL and its promoters for the transfer of its retail assets to RIL in a “clandestine” manner.
“FRL and its promoters have consistently acted in violation of the order passed by the emergency arbitrator and reaffirmed by the Arbitral Tribunal,” said the notice. “It has now come to light that FRL and its promoters have been attempting to remove the substratum of the dispute by purportedly transferring and alienating FRL’s retail assets comprising the retail stores in favour of the MDA Group.”
MDA refers to Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani. The notice comes at the end of a 10-day window given by the Supreme Court, which this month had given both sides time until March 15 to explore a settlement. During a hearing this month the court told the three parties — Amazon.com, Future Retail (FRL), and its promoter Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) —to find ways to reach a settlement. The judges said the two sides could take 10 days to reach a solution.
“It may be noted that FRL and its promoters made false submissions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the retail assets would continue to vest in FRL until the scheme of arrangement with MDA Group was finally approved by the NCLT,” said the notice. “These false statements were made knowingly as FRL was on the verge of purportedly allowing handing over of the retail assets to the MDA Group.”
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.