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German antitrust watchdog widens Amazon probe under new regulation

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's antitrust watchdog said on Monday it had expanded two probes into U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com making use of new regulation allowing it to prohibit any anti-competitive behaviour at an earlier stage.

"We are examining in both proceedings whether and how Amazon impedes the business opportunities of sellers that are active on the Amazon marketplace and compete with Amazon’s own retail business," Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said in a statement.

Changes to Germany's antitrust laws for digital corporations, which came into effect last year, give the cartel office more power in identifying and prohibiting some companies' dominant positions.

According to the cartel office, Amazon operates the most important marketplace in e-commerce, giving it a key position in that area that allows it to set the rules for competition on its platform.

"Our new competencies, which are precisely intended to restrict such power to set rules, allow us to intervene more efficiently against Amazon’s anti-competitive practices," Mundt said.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, editing by Rachel More)