Debt-laden Future Retail (FRL) has denied all accusations made against its independent directors by Amazon, stating that the US e-commerce major has been making “baseless and irrelevant allegations”.
FRL also alleged that Amazon has been writing to various regulators on “one or the other point”. As is evident, Amazon is changing its goal post every now and then with respect to various matters concerning the company, FRL said, replying to a clarification sought by the regulator.
The information, which has been provided only by one party with “mala fide intent”, should not have any material impact on the company, it added.
In a letter dated May 19, Amazon has accused FRL’s independent directors of “facilitating” to alienate and transfer the Indian retail firm’s 835 stores in favour of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Retail.
These stores – both large-format stores such as ‘Big Bazaar’ and small-format stores such as ‘Easy Day’ and ‘Heritage Fresh’ – were transferred in the teeth of binding injunctions and court orders, Amazon alleged in a letter addressed to FRL’s two independent directors.
“While the scheme has failed, it now appears that FRL sought to purportedly alienate its retail stores in favour of the Mukesh Ambani group by any means possible. You, as independent directors, have facilitated this fraudulent stratagem to defraud the Indian public and regulators,” Amazon had said.
Amazon was referring to the 2020 deal Future Group had signed with Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL), to sell its retail, logistics and warehousing businesses for Rs 24,713 crore. It was later cancelled after Future group failed to secure shareholders’ and lenders’ approval.