© Reuters. Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos arrives for a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the UK diplomatic residence in New York City, New York, US, September 20, 2021. Michael M. Santiago / Pool via REUTERS
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday rejected an offer by Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) to reject a requirement that both Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy and Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos must testify at investigative sessions.
Last month, Amazon questioned what it called the agency’s “heavy” requests in an investigation into the sign-up and cancellation process for its Prime program.
The retailer said the FTC was seeking to “harass” both Jassy and former CEO Bezos by asking them to testify at an investigative session “on a list of open topics,” and demanding that the Their testimony must be suppressed or at least delayed until all other company officials have testified.
“Amazon did not provide a reason why the Commission should accept anything less than all the relevant testimony it was able to obtain from these two witnesses,” the FTC order said Wednesday.
It said Amazon.com must comply with a Civil Investigation Demand June 30 no later than October 7.
Amazon said Wednesday that it is “disappointed but not surprised that the FTC has largely refused to rule against itself, but we are pleased that the agency has denied its broadest requests and will allow witnesses to choose their own attorneys.”
The company says it is working with the FTC and has produced at least 37,000 pages of documents.
“We are committed to working constructively with FTC staff, but we remain concerned that the latest requirements are too broad and unnecessary, and we will explore all of our options.” , an Amazon spokesperson said.
Last month, Amazon said the commission first submitted its inquiry for information in March 2021 in its Prime probe, and in June expanded the request to additional non-Prime subscriptions. .
The FTC order recognizes Amazon as one of the world’s leading companies with more than $32 billion in net sales in 2021 and more than 1.6 million employees.
“By contrast, the FTC’s 2021 budget topped just $351 million, or more than 1% of Amazon’s earnings,” the FTC added in the footnote to the main text.