Yesterday, the Enforcement Directorate apprehended four individuals linked to the Chinese mobile phone company, vivo, on charges of money laundering. This case involves a Chinese national who is accused of transferring a substantial sum to Beijing to evade tax payments in India.
The investigators seized cash amount of over ₹10 lakh along with other documents at the time of raids and arrested 4 people names: Guangwen Kyang also known as Andrew Kuang, a Chinese National, Managing Director, Lava International, Hari Om Rai, a Chartered Accountant, Nitin Garg, and Rajan Malik in a registered PMLA case on 3rd February, 2022.
The ED wanted the four accused to be on a 10-day remand, but the court put them in detention till 13 October. The ED is anticipated to present all the apprehended individuals before a dedicated PMLA court to request their detention.
"Vivo firmly adheres to its ethical principles and remains dedicated to legal compliance. The recent arrest deeply concerns us. We will exercise all available legal options,” vivo, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer told in a statement.
The agency claimed in the court that vivo MD Hari Om Rai assisted in arranging funds for vivo and helped set up the vivo company network in the country in 2014 when the firm was establishing itself in India. ED also alleged Rai for providing business letters to vivo employees including its CEO to apply for Indian visas.
Extending the ED's custody of the four suspects for three days, Additional Sessions’ Judge Mr. Devender Kumar Jangala noted that the ED had requested an extension due to the suspects' lack of cooperation and their deliberate efforts to deceive the investigative agency.
The court noted, "custodial interrogation is required in the interest of investigation to find out the deep-rooted conspiracy for commission of an offense under PMLA".
The ED raided various locations in connection with the money laundering inquiry against this Chinese firm. The investigation was initiated by the ED on the FIR recorded by the Delhi Police in December 2022.
In July 2022, the ED reported that a company secretory and two Chartered Accountants were involved in helping two Chinese citizens establish a company linked to vivo. The accusation was based on the investigations of forged documents and fake addresses by the probe agency.
The trio also aided two other Chinese people Zhengshen Ou and Zhang Jie in arranging distributor for the company in Jammu & Kashmir. These two are shareholders of Grand Prospect International Communication. Later, the claims of this company being a subsidiary of vivo are found false.
However, the company has denied all the allegations to the high court in its affidavit about money being sent to China to not pay tax in India. Currently, all the distributors and networks working with vivo are also under investigation by the probing agency. No final conclusion can be made for now.