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Amazon calls Future store transfer to Reliance 'fraud'

Amazon has been contesting the Rs 24,713 cr sale of Future Group's retail assets to Ambani's Reliance group

Amazon calls Future store transfer to Reliance fraud
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Amazon calls Future store transfer to Reliance 'fraud'

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New Delhi: Days after billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led group took some of the stores of Future Group, whose lease had expired due to the non-payment of rent, Amazon.com Inc on Tuesday accused the two of 'fraud' and said such 'contumacious' transfer will be liable to legal action.

Amazon has been contesting the Rs 24,713 crore sale of Future Group's retail assets to Ambani's Reliance group, first announced in August 2020, and the case is currently before the Supreme Court. Reliance last month signed lease deeds with landlords who haven't been paid rent for months for stores built on their properties by Future Group.

Initially, it sub-leased the properties to Future Group for operation, but this month terminated those sub-leases and took over 947 such stores. In advertisements in leading newspapers headlined 'Public Notice', Amazon said: "These actions have been done in a clandestine manner by playing a fraud on the Constitutional Courts in India, the Arbitral Tribunal and Indian statutory authorities/agencies".

It accused Future Retail Ltd and its promoters of making a false submission before the Supreme Court that retail assets would continue to vest in FRL until the Reliance deal was approved by the insolvency court - the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). "These false statements were made knowingly as FRL was on the verge of purportedly allowing handing over of the retail assets to the Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani (MDA) Group."

Amazon's public outcry came even though on March 3, it offered to hold talks to resolve the dispute. In stock exchange filings this month, Future has said it could not pay rent at many outlets given its distressed financial situation and that Reliance, which had taken over many of its leases, had issued it with termination notices. "It has now come to light that FRL and its promoters have been trying 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," Amazon said in the public notice.

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