Vivo remitted almost 50% of turnover to China to avoid getting taxed in India, says ED

The agency conducted searches at 48 locations across the country

Updated - July 07, 2022 10:46 pm IST

Published - July 07, 2022 06:25 pm IST - New Delhi

Picture used for representational purposes only. File

Picture used for representational purposes only. File | Photo Credit: Businessline

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday alleged thatVivo India remitted almost 50% of the sale proceeds overseas, mainly to China, to disclose huge losses in several domestically incorporated companies to avoid payment of taxes in India.

“Vivo is cooperating with the authorities to provide them with all required information. As a responsible corporate, we are committed to be fully compliant with laws,” Vivo India’s spokesperson had earlier said.

The ED statement came two days after it conducted searches at 48 locations across the country, including the premises linked to Vivo India and its associated entities, in a case involving Grand Prospect International Communication Private Limited (GPICPL) that was allegedly being run by some Chinese nationals.

According to the agency, of the total sale proceeds of ₹1,25,185 crore in the country, Vivo India had transferred out ₹62,476 crore.

“Due procedures as per law were followed during the said operations... 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,” said the agency.

It has so far seized 119 bank accounts of various entities with gross balance of about ₹465 crore, including ₹66 crore in fixed deposits of Vivo India, two kg worth gold bars and ₹73 lakh in cash.

Vivo Mobiles India was incorporated in Delhi in August 2014 as a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Multi Accord Limited. In December 2014, GPICPL was incorporated allegedly by Chinese nationals, Zhengshen Ou, Bin Lou and Zhang Jie, with the help of Chartered Accountant Nitin Garg. It was registered with the Shimla Registrar of Companies with its offices shown in Himachal Pradesh's Solan and Jammu.

Mr. Lou left the country on April 26, 2018, while Mr. Ou and Mr. Jie went abroad last year. The ED said that Mr. Lou was also a former director of Vivo. He had allegedly floated 18 companies across the country just after the incorporation of Vivo India in 2014-15. Another Chinese national, Zhixin Wei, incorporated four companies.

The suspect entities were located in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Indore, Guwahati, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar. “These companies are found to have transferred huge funds to Vivo India,” said the agency, adding that further investigations were under way.

The ED's money laundering probe is based on a first information report (FIR) registered at the Kalkaji police station in Delhi on December 5, 2021, following a complaint from the Deputy Registrar of Companies (RoC), Delhi and Haryana.

It was alleged that certain Chinese shareholders of GPICPL were projecting it to be subsidiary of Vivo and had also used forged documents and falsified addresses in conspiracy with the accused chartered accountants, including Jagmohan Chodha and Ankita Uniyal. The agency found that GPICPL directors had disclosed the addresses that turned out to be of a government building and the house of a senior bureaucrat, as alleged.

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