Vivo India, Related Companies Raided by Enforcement Directorate in Money Laundering Investigation

The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday conducted searches at 44 places across the country in a money-laundering investigation against Chinese smartphone manufacturing company Vivo and related firms, officials said. The searches are being carried out under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The agency is conducting searches at 44 places related to Vivo and associated companies, they said. The ED has also been investigating¬†the Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi¬†since February. On April 30, the agency said the smartphone maker had illegally transferred funds abroad to three entities, including one from a Xiaomi group entity, “in the guise of royalty” payments. It seized $725 million (roughly Rs. 5,624 crore) from the local bank accounts of Xiaomi, though an Indian court has put that decision on hold following a legal challenge by Xiaomi. The Chinese company says its royalty payments were all legitimate and were for the “in-licensed technologies and IPs” used in its Indian products. In its court filings, Xiaomi says that such payments were made to firms including US chip giant Qualcomm and that relevant disclosure had been made to Indian authorities.

Xiaomi’s India offices and manufacturing units were raided in December in a separate ongoing investigation over alleged income tax evasion. And in another case in January, India’s Revenue Intelligence wing asked Xiaomi to pay $84.5 million (roughly Rs. 655 crore) for allegedly evading some import taxes. Xiaomi has expressed concerns in its latest court filing against the Enforcement Directorate, saying the agency’s action “creates an atmosphere of distrust and the image of the country suffers in international circles.”

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