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Business News/ Industry / Retail/  Singapore tribunal to hear Amazon-Future case on 12 July over RIL deal

MUMBAI : The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has decided to hear the high-profile legal case between NV Investment Holdings Llc and Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group over the latter’s 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Industries Ltd on 12 July, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

An interim emergency award by SIAC on 25 October had restrained Reliance and the Future Group from going ahead with the deal. The final order by SIAC in the case involving Mukesh Ambani’s RIL and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon will decide who will have an edge in India’s burgeoning retail e-commerce industry.

“As the crux of the entire legal issue is the breach of the contractual agreement, which falls under the jurisdiction of SIAC, this arbitration hearing is important. Also, SIAC’s order may suggest a direction for courts in India on the pending legal case between the two parties here," said one of the persons mentioned above, on condition anonymity.

SIAC will conduct this hearing to pass the final arbitration award after India’s Supreme Court starts hearing the matter on 28 June. However, the tribunal’s verdict may come before the apex court’s final order as SIAC typically decides faster on arbitration cases, said the first person.

On 5 January, SIAC had formed a panel of top international lawyers to hear the case. “This may be crucial as any dispute between the two parties will be subject to the jurisdiction of SIAC and its decision shall be binding, according to the contractual agreement between Amazon and Future Group. As per India’s arbitration law, the decision of SIAC has to be considered legally valid and enforceable," said the first person.

Veteran barrister Michael Hwang has been appointed as the judge for the tribunal in the Amazon-Future case. Albert Jan van den Berg, the founding partner of law firm Hanotiau & van den Berg, and Jan Paulsson, a Swedish arbitration veteran and founding partner of Three Crowns Llp., are the two members of the SIAC arbitration panel.

If SIAC passes its final judgement before the Supreme Court spells its final verdict, Amazon and Future will be able to add SIAC’s order in their affidavits before the apex court and it will not only be easier for the Supreme Court to prepare its judgement on the case but will also bring the long-drawn legal battle to a close.

Anirudh Laskar
Anirudh Laskar is a senior editor at Mint, with 17 years of experience. He has reported on significant corporate matters including large mergers and acquisitions, India's emerging e-commerce sector and regulatory issues in the financial services industry. Based out of Mint’s Mumbai bureau, Anirudh has worked with Business Standard and The Telegraph before joining Mint in 2009.
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Updated: 07 Jun 2021, 02:41 PM IST
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