Amazon said on Sunday it is investigating whether its employees leaked confidential internal data in exchange for bribes to give sellers an advantage on the online marketplace, Bloomberg reported.

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal alleged that some employees were selling sensitive information to independent merchants operating on the website. They allegedly allowed them, through middlemen, to delete negative reviews and restore banned accounts for payments between $80 (Rs 5,800) and $2,000 (Rs 1.45 lakh).

The company initiated an internal investigation in May after being alerted of such instances in China, where the practice was particularly prevalent, the report said.

In a statement, Amazon said: “We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. We have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behaviour, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action.”