As India's ED raids Chinese smartphone firm Vivo's offices, Beijing says hopes for a 'fair' investigation
Two Chinese directors of a Himachal Pradesh-based company associated with Vivo are believed to have fled, reported IANS quoting sources. The report further alleged that the Chinese nationals were made directors of the Indian firms by making use of fake documents
As India's financial crime-fighting agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) continues to raid offices of Chinese smartphone maker Vivo, as per a report by IANS, directors of one of the firms associated with the brand have fled the country. The Indian financial agency started its raid on Vivo on Tuesday (July 6th). According to a Reuters report, the searches were part of an investigation into suspected money laundering. Reacting to news of the raids, China has expressed hope that India will conduct the investigations in a “fair” and “non-discriminatory” manner. Two Chinese directors of a Himachal Pradesh-based company associated with Vivo are believed to have fled, reported IANS quoting sources. The report further alleged that the Chinese nationals were made directors of the Indian firms by making use of fake documents.
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However, in an email, a Vivo representative stated that the company was cooperating with the authorities to provide them with all required information."
"As a responsible corporate, we are committed to be fully compliant with laws."
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, responded to questions about the ongoing raids on Vivo offices in many cities throughout India by saying that his country is actively monitoring the situation.
He said, “As I have stressed many times, the Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to abide by laws and regulations when doing business overseas", adding that, "we firmly support Chinese companies in safeguarding their lawful rights and interests.”
“We hope the Indian side will conduct investigations and law enforcement in accordance with laws and regulations and earnestly provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing and operating in India,” he said.
According to ED sources, the enforcement agency has so far learned of money laundering worth approximately $1200 million (INR 10,000 crore) during the raid operations.
The Vivo raids come months after the Enforcement Directorate opened an inquiry into Xiaomi Corp., one of India's top smartphone vendors, for alleged unlawful payments sent abroad under the pretence of "royalties." A total of around $725 million (INR 5,551 crore) was seized during the said searches.
Xiaomi has denied any wrongdoing and claimed in court that when being questioned by representatives from the Directorate, its top executives were subjected to coercion and threats of "physical violence." The claims were refuted by the agency.
(With inputs from agencies)
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