Why did the ED raid Vivo? Points to note

9 July, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

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The ED reportedly closed 119 bank accounts related to Vivo's India operations that were holding 4.65 billion rupees ($58.76 million), according to sources.

In a money-laundering case against the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo and its 23 affiliated companies, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at more than 40 locations throughout India on Tuesday and Wednesday.

What evidence went against Vivo ?

In connection with a money laundering investigation, the ED reportedly searched locations connected to Vivo and affiliated businesses including Xiaomi and Oppo.

It took note of a recent FIR filed by the Delhi Police’s Economic Offenses Wing against a distributor of the Jammu and Kashmir-based agency, in which it was claimed that a few Chinese shareholders in that company had faked their identification papers.

The ED believes that this alleged forgery was carried out to hide some of the “proceeds of crime” from Indian tax and enforcement authorities by utilising shell or paper firms to launder unlawfully obtained monies.

What were the raids’ findings?

The ED claimed on Thursday that the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo’s Indian subsidiary “remitted” about 50% of its revenue, or Rs 62,476 crore, primarily to China in order to avoid paying taxes here.

The federal investigation agency also reported that following pan-Indian raids against Vivo Mobile India Pvt. Ltd. and its 23 affiliated companies that began early this week on July 5, it had seized funds worth Rs 465 crore kept in 119 bank accounts by various entities, Rs 73 lakh in cash, and 2 kg in gold bars.

The ED claims to have proof that Vivo officials used forged documents to incorporate the businesses.

According to sources, the ED said that “Vivo India personnel, including some Chinese nationals, did not cooperate with the search operations and tried to flee, delete, and hide digital devices that were collected by the search teams.”

Chinese businesses have previously come under scrutiny

For alleged violations of foreign exchange regulations, the ED confiscated deposits worth Rs 5,551 crore from rival Xiaomi India, another Chinese smartphone behemoth, in April of this year.

The IT department conducted nationwide raids on the offices of several of these Chinese smartphone companies, including Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, as well as those of their distributors and connected associates, in December of last year. The department later claimed to have found alleged unaccounted income totaling more than Rs 6,500 crore as a result of violations of Indian tax laws and regulations.