WASHINGTON, March 10 — A panel of US lawmakers urged the Department of Justice on Wednesday to open a criminal probe into their allegations that Amazon has tried to obstruct their anti-trust investigation of tech giants.

The lawmakers accused Amazon, and some of its executives, of misleading the House of Representatives judiciary committee during its probe of business competition online launched in 2019.

“After Amazon was caught in a lie and repeated misrepresentations, it stonewalled the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth,” said the committee’s letter asking for a Department of Justice probe. 

The Department of Justice did not immediately reply to a request for comment, while Amazon rejected the allegations saying, its “good faith cooperation with this investigation” was evidenced by the “huge volume of information we’ve provided over several years”.

The letter, signed by committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, went on to allege that Amazon worked to “influence, obstruct, or impede the committee’s investigation and inquiries.”

The committee has been looking into questions that include Amazon’s powerful place on its e-commerce platform, where it sets and enforces the rules for marketing products through third-party companies’ products, but also its own. 

“Amazon lied through a senior executive’s sworn testimony that Amazon did not use any of the troves of data it had collected on its third-party sellers to compete with them,” the letter alleged.

The committee has questioned several representatives of Amazon, but also titans of Silicon Valley, which it accuses of abuse of dominance. 

In July 2020, Google parent Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple chief Tim Cook, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos spoke to the committee.

Various investigations and lawsuits for anti-competitive practices have been launched by American states and the American competition authority against Facebook parent Meta and Google, in particular, but also against Amazon. 

The Seattle-based company regularly highlights the success of third-party companies on its platform.  — AFP