February 23, 2021

Gérard Depardieu has reportedly been charged with rape and sexual assault.

The French actor, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 1990's Cyrano de Bergerac, was charged after an actress accused him of raping and assaulting her at his home in 2018, Agence France-Presse reports. They were reportedly rehearsing for a play at the time, per Page Six.

"According to a source close to the case, Depardieu is a friend of the actress's family," AFP also says.

A probe into the allegations against 72-year-old Depardieu was previously closed in 2019 after the Paris prosecutor's office said that "numerous investigations" weren't able to substantiate the claims, The New York Times reported. But the case was reportedly reopened last year, and Depardieu was charged in December. According to The Guardian, the accuser, who is in her 20s, refiled a complaint after the previous investigation was dropped.

A lawyer for Depardieu told AFP he "completely rejects the accusations" against him, while a lawyer for the alleged victim asked for privacy during the proceedings. Brendan Morrow

November 10, 2020

European Union regulators have slapped Amazon with charges over alleged antitrust violations.

The European Commission on Tuesday announced it's bringing antitrust charges against Amazon, accusing the company of breaking competition laws and using nonpublic data from other sellers to its advantage, The New York Times reports.

In a statement, the European Commission said its "preliminary view" is that Amazon "has breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in online retail markets," explaining that regulators take "issue with Amazon systematically relying on nonpublic business data of independent sellers who sell on its marketplace, to the benefit of Amazon's own retail business, which directly competes with those third party sellers."

It was previously reported that Amazon would soon face charges from European Union regulators, and in April, The Wall Street Journal reported the company allegedly used data from third-party sellers to launch competing products. Amazon at the time said "we strictly prohibit our employees from using nonpublic, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch."

Regulators are also opening a second antitrust investigation, which the European Commission said will examine potential "preferential treatment of Amazon's retail business or of the sellers that use Amazon's logistics and delivery services."

Amazon said Tuesday that it disagrees with the European Commission's assertions, adding, "no company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon." The Times notes it may "take many months, or even years, before a fine and other penalties are announced." But CNN reports the probe could potentially "expose Amazon to potential fines of up to 10 percent of its annual global sales," which "implies a maximum penalty of around $37 billion." Brendan Morrow

June 11, 2020

The European Union is reportedly set to file antitrust charges against Amazon.

The EU will hit Amazon with formal antitrust charges "as early as next week or the week after" over its treatment of third-party sellers, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

An antitrust investigation into Amazon was previously announced by the European Commission, with Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager pledging to "take a very close look at Amazon's business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules."

In a statement of objections, The Wall Street Journal reports, the EU "accuses Amazon of scooping up data from third-party sellers and using that information to compete against them, for instance by launching similar products." A decision on whether the company violated competition laws is "expected to take at least another year," the report says, but Amazon could potentially face a fine of 10 percent of its annual revenue.

In April, the Journal reported that Amazon employees had used data from third-party sellers to develop competing products; Amazon at the time said that "we strictly prohibit our employees from using nonpublic, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch."

Members of the House Judiciary Committee in response to that Journal report in May asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify before Congress, in a letter saying that if the report is correct, "then statements Amazon made to the committee about the company's business practices appear to be misleading, and possibly criminally false or perjurious." Brendan Morrow

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