Birkenstock boss slams Amazon 'complicity' in fake goods

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Frankfurt am Main (AFP)

The head of the iconic German shoe brand Birkenstock on Friday slammed Amazon's failure to tackle the scourge of counterfeit goods online, accusing the e-commerce giant of acting as "an accomplice" to the fraudsters.

"The truth is that Amazon makes money with these fakes," Birkenstock chief executive Oliver Reichert told Spiegel news weekly. "As far we're concerned, Amazon is an accomplice."

The broadside comes days after the veteran footwear company said it would stop selling on Amazon Europe websites from January in protest at the online retailer's lack of action against counterfeit Birkenstocks.

Birkenstock, founded in 1774 and best known for its comfortable, thick-strapped leather sandals adored by fashionistas, has taken a strong stance against trademark infringements.

Last year, it ended its relationship with the US arm of Amazon, citing the repeated failure to stop fake Birkenstocks from being sold on the website.

"If you sell dodgy merchandise on your market place, you have to answer for that," said Reichert.

Amazon has said in the past that is has "zero tolerance" for fraud.