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Report: Amazon.com Chief Under Investigation by SEC
Associated Press
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NEW YORK — The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating stock sales by Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos just before a negative report on the company was released, The New York Times reported Friday.

Documents filed with regulators on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5 indicated that Bezos intended to sell 800,000 shares of Amazon stock worth roughly $12.2 million.

A week earlier, Amazon executives received an advance copy of a research report compiled by Lehman Brothers that questioned the company's ability to continue operating through 2001.

The report also speculated that Amazon's deteriorating financial situation could subject it to a credit squeeze later this year.

Bill Curry, a spokesman for the Internet retailer, said Bezos had sold the stock in an effort to generate capital and diversify his holdings and that it had nothing to do with the Lehman report.

"There was nothing new in the report, and indeed the stock went up that day after the report was released because there was nothing new in it," Curry told the Times.

The sale also fell within a trading window in which executives would be allowed to divest their shares, Curry said.

It is not clear how many shares Bezos sold because SEC filings only indicate an intention to sell.

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