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Amway seeks Narendra Modi govt’s help to release India head Pinckney

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-06-2014 PTI

New Delhi: US-based direct-selling major Amway Corp.’s president Doug DeVos has sought the intervention of the Narendra Modi government for the release of the company’s India head William Scott Pinckney, while asking to “restore confidence in India’s investment potential”.

Pinckney was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police last month in connection with a criminal case filed against the company, and remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a court in Kurnool district. The firm faces nine criminal cases in the state. The company also wants clear guidelines for direct sellers in India to avoid such arrests in the future.

“We understand that the new Union government in New Delhi played no role in this police action and hope they will help in the immediate release of Bill (Pinckney) so he can quickly and safely return to his family,” DeVos said in a video message for the Indian market.

He further said: “We also ask for them (central government) to assist us in moving to resolve this situation and restore confidence in India’s investment potential and we ask for this to happen quickly.”

DeVos added that the company has been cooperating with the authorities in all investigations and that Pinckney’s continued detention was “unnecessary and unreasonable”.

Pinckney, along with two company directors, was arrested last year as well, by the Kerala Police, on charges of alleged financial irregularities under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.

The Indian Direct Selling Association has requested the government to amend the act by inserting the definition of pyramid marketing schemes to identify a product-based money circulation scheme, and to differentiate it from the business of direct selling and its incentive structure.

DeVos reiterated the demand of direct sellers for clear guidelines for the sector, and said Amway was committed to the Indian market despite “challenging market conditions”, and that the firm will continue to expand its Indian investments, including a new $100 million manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu.

Stating that the company is committed to its 500 employees and hundreds of thousands of distributors in India who have built a “legitimate business” by selling its products, he said: “It’s what we have been doing in India since 1998 and it’s what we intend to do for generations to come.”

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