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India says Vivo’s local unit evaded over $280M in import tax – TechCrunch

India’s anti-smuggling agency said the local unit of phone provider Vivo evaded more than $280 million in tariffs about a month after the country’s anti-money laundering agency raided the Chinese company’s domestic offices.

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that its Directorate of Revenue Intelligence imported “incriminating evidence suggesting willful misstatement in the description of certain items” from Vivo’s India unit while it was conducting raids at its factories.

This led to the company’s “illegitimate claiming of ineligible duty exemption benefits,” the ministry said in a press statement.

The ministry issued a “Show Cause Notice” to Vivo India after completing its investigation, demanding a customs duty of over US$280 million (Rs. 2,217 billion) under the Customs Act 1962, the ministry added.

The Ministry of Finance also stated that Vivo India had “voluntarily deposited” US$7.5 million as part of its differential duty.

TechCrunch has reached out to Vivo India for comment on the matter and will update this space when the company responds.

The Treasury’s latest announcement follows a similar tariff evasion case by Vivo sibling Oppo that was made public last month. In that incident, the Chinese company’s Indian subsidiary was named for evading a $550 million customs fee.

Last month, the Enforcement Directorate, India’s anti-money laundering agency, also raided dozens of Vivo’s plants and manufacturing facilities in several states on money laundering allegations. The agency then seized $58.7 million from the company’s 119 bank accounts.

China’s embassy in India criticized Vivo’s earlier move. The embassy said such “frequent investigations” in local units of Chinese companies “hampered the improvement of [the] business environment” in the country and “chills the confidence and willingness” of global companies to invest in and operate in the South Asian market.

Vivo had commented on the raid, saying it was “committed to fully complying with the laws of the country.” Similarly, Oppo responded to the charges of customs evasion, saying it would “take the necessary steps in this regard”.

Alongside Vivo and Oppo, both owned by Guangzhou-based BBK Electronics, Xiaomi recently came under government scrutiny in India. The Enforcement Directorate recently seized $725 million from the Chinese company’s Indian subsidiary, accusing the phone maker of violating the country’s foreign exchange laws.

However, Xiaomi rejected the allegations. His executive was threatened with “physical violence” during the investigation, Reuters previously reported. The Beijing-based company also challenged the enforcement agency’s ruling in the Karnataka High Court. The decision in this case is still pending.

https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/03/vivo-india-local-unit-evaded-280-million-import-tax-custom-duty/ India says Vivo’s local unit evaded over $280M in import tax – TechCrunch

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