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SIAC terminates Jan 5-8 arbitration proceedings in Amazon-Future dispute

SIAC terminates Jan 5-8 arbitration proceedings in Amazon-Future dispute

A Delhi High Court division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh stayed the Amazon-Future arbitration over the appeals filed by Future Retail and its promoters.

The tribunal is adjudicating Amazon's objections to Future Retail's Rs 24,500-crore deal with Reliance. The tribunal is adjudicating Amazon's objections to Future Retail's Rs 24,500-crore deal with Reliance.

The Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) has terminated the arbitration proceedings in the Amazon-Future dispute scheduled between January 5 and 8 after a stay order was passed by the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.

A Delhi High Court division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh stayed the Amazon-Future arbitration over the appeals filed by Future Retail and its promoters.

The tribunal is adjudicating Amazon's objections to Future Retail's Rs 24,500-crore deal with Reliance.

"In view of this order, the Singapore International Arbitration Center has terminated the arbitration proceedings scheduled between January 5 and 8, 2022, until further orders," said Future Retail in a regulatory filing.

The Delhi High Court issued a notice to Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC on the appeals filed by Future Retail Ltd and Future Coupons Pvt Ltd. The matter has been adjourned to February 1 for hearing.

"In the meantime, the division bench of the Delhi High Court has stayed the order dated January 4, 2022, passed by the Single Judge of the Delhi High Court and also stayed the arbitration proceedings till the next date of hearing," Future Retail said.

The order was pronounced in the court and a copy of same is awaited, it added.

SIAC is adjudicating Amazon's objections to Future Group's deal with Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, announced in August 2020 for sale of the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business.

On Tuesday, the single-member bench of Justice Amit Bansal said it was not for the court to interfere with the scheduling of the arbitration proceedings and no grounds for interference were made out in the present petitions.

He said the tribunal has already fixed January 8 as the date for hearing the termination application after cutting short the scheduled four-day hearing of the expert witnesses. This order was challenged by Future Retail and its promoters before the division bench on Wednesday.

Amazon and Future have been locked in a bitter legal tussle after the US e-commerce giant dragged Future Group to arbitration at the SIAC in October 2020, arguing that Future Retail Ltd had violated their contract by entering into a deal for the sale of its assets to billionaire Mukesh Ambani''s Reliance Retail on a slump sale basis for Rs 24,500 crore.

In December, the Competition Commission of India suspended its over-two-year-old approval for Amazon's deal to acquire a 49-per cent stake in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL), Future Retail Ltd's promoter, and also slapped a penalty of Rs 202 crore on the e-commerce major.

Amazon is objecting to the sell-off plans, accusing Future Group of breaching its 2019 investment pact.

Future Coupons was founded in 2008 and is engaged in the business of marketing and distribution of gift cards, loyalty cards and other reward programmes to corporate customers.

Several issues arising from the Amazon-Future legal battle are pending before the Supreme Court.

Reliance Retail Ventures had for the second time extended the timeline for completing its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Future group to March 31, 2022, as it still awaits regulatory and judicial clearances.