The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly investigating Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com, after he registered to sell $12m worth of the firm's shares in early February.
According to the New York Times, Bezos' proposed sale has attracted attention from investigators because of its closeness to the publishing of an analyst's report, which was critical of Amazon.
Bezos signalled his intention to sell 800,000 shares on 2nd and 5th of February, and reportedly sold 375,000 shares worth around $6m. On 6 February, a report highly critical of Amazon from Lehman Brothers analyst Ravia Suria was published. But according to the US paper, Lehmann Brothers had sent the report to Amazon for comment a week earlier.
Although Amazon's share price actually rose on the day the report was published, commentators have noted that Bezos, who rarely sells Amazon stock, would have been aware that the firm's share price fell by almost a fifth following a similar report from the same analyst published in June 2000.
An Amazon spokesman reportedly said that Bezos sold the stock to raise money and diversify his interests, and that 2 February was the first day of a new trading window for executives at the company following the release of quarterly results.
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