Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is willing to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on the company’s competitive practices, The New York Times reported Monday.
Bezos will be available to testify at a hearing later this summer once Amazon resolves issues around timing, format and questions concerning the committee’s request for internal documents, the Times reported, citing a letter sent to the committee by Robert K. Kelner, an attorney from Covington & Burling, the law firm representing Amazon in the antitrust matter.
Representatives from Amazon and the House Judiciary Committee weren’t immediately available for comment. Kelner didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, Amazon resisted demands for Bezos to appear before the committee, saying it would “make the appropriate executive available” for testimony. The committee in May called for Bezos to testify after Democratic leaders said they suspected Amazon of lying to Congress.
The committee also threatened to subpoena Bezos if he didn’t comply.
Top Democrats on the committee said they suspected Amazon of lying to Congress over its private label strategy, after a recent Wall Street Journal report on the company’s use of third-party seller data appeared to contradict an Amazon executive’s previous testimony on its treatment of sellers.
The Journal investigation found Amazon employees used non-aggregated or easily identifiable data from third-party sellers to figure out which products to make on its own. The report was based on interviews with more than 20 former Amazon employees and documents reviewed by the Journal.
The report appeared to contradict testimony by Amazon’s associate general counsel Nate Sutton at a July hearing, during which he denied that individual seller data is used to manipulate search algorithms to favor Amazon’s own products, or in any other way to directly compete with merchants.
Bezos and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are the only two CEOs of the five biggest tech firms by market cap — Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook — who have never before testified in front of Congress. Amazon has faced scrutiny over the past year as lawmakers and regulators assess issues of privacy and dominance among tech companies.
Read the full story in The New York Times.
— CNBC’s Lauren Feiner contributed to this report.