Indian financial-crimes officers investigating alleged money laundering by Chinese telecom company Vivo have blocked 119 bank accounts holding 4.65 billion rupees ($58.76 million), saying the company was not cooperating on the probe.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has claimed that smartphone maker Vivo’s sales proceeds were transferred out of India to show losses.
“These remittances were made in order to disclose huge losses in Indian incorporated companies to avoid payment of taxes in India,” the ED said in a statement.
ED said in a statement that Vivo’s employees were not cooperating.
“The employees of Vivo India, including some Chinese nationals, did not cooperate with the search proceedings and had tried to abscond, remove and hide digital devices which were retrieved by the search teams.”
Cash, Gold Bars Seized In Raids At Vivo
The agency said that cash and gold bars were also seized in its raids on the Chinese telecom company.
Vivo said it was cooperating with authorities and was committed to fully complying with Indian laws.
The ED also said some of Vivo’s Indian companies were fraudulently registered. “Its shareholders had used forged identification documents and falsified addresses at the time of incorporation.”
China’s embassy in India called for a fair business environment for its companies, saying India’s investigations into Chinese firms were damaging the confidence of Chinese companies.
Xiaomi, another top Chinese telecom company and smartphone maker, is also under investigation in India.
The ED froze $725 million in its India bank accounts, alleging Xiaomi had made illegal remittances abroad “in the guise of royalty” payments.
Xiaomi denies wrongdoing and an Indian court temporarily lifted the freeze. The case continues.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell