After Amazon’s Win, Future Group moves SC To Stop Asset Freeze

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Days after a setback in the Supreme Court that ruled in favour of its discordant partner Amazon, the Future Group has approached the Supreme Court against the seizure of assets belonging to the company and its founder Kishore Biyani.
Future Coupons has asked the top court to stop the attachment of assets of Future Coupons, Future Retail and Kishore Biyani, challenging a single-judge ruling of the Delhi High Court.

Handing Amazon a major victory in a dispute where it sought to block Future Group from selling $3.4 billion in assets to rival Reliance Industries, the Supreme Court had backed an order by a Singapore tribunal and also revived the high court order on the attachment of assets.

The Delhi High Court in March had ruled Mr Biyani and Future had deliberately and wilfully violated the Singapore tribunal order and imposed a fine of Rs 20 lakh on them, payable to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The outcome of the tussle involving two of the world’s richest men, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, is seen reshaping India’s pandemic-hit shopping sector and deciding if Amazon can blunt Reliance’s dominance of the country’s nearly trillion-dollar retail market.

Amazon and Future have been locked in legal battles over the Future Group deal, with the US firm accusing the Indian group of violating pre-existing contracts when it sold its assets to Reliance. Future has denied any wrongdoing.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court said that an interim decision by a Singapore arbitrator in October – that put the deal on hold after finding merit in Amazon’s objections – was valid and enforceable in India.

Amazon had argued that the order is binding, while Future had argued it was not. Both sides had agreed to use the Singapore arbitrator in case of disputes when Amazon invested $200 million in Future Coupons, a unit of Future, in 2019. The arbitration proceedings are still ongoing.

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