Vivo confirms arrest of an employee in India over money laundering case

Asian Tech Press (Oct 11) -- India's financial crime agency arrested four people linked to Chinese smartphone maker vivo on Tuesday on charges of money laundering, including a Chinese employee.

Vivo confirmed the arrest of one employee, but did not elaborate on the nationality of the arrestee.

In a statement, the company said the company "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".

Just over a year ago, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes, raided vivo India, claiming that the firm was illegally sending money from India to China.

The agency said at the time that vivo India was remitting local sales outside India to avoid payment of taxes, with the funds equivalent to nearly half of its turnover of 1.25 trillion rupees.

The ED has frozen 119 bank accounts related to Vivo India, totaling 4.65 billion rupees.

Vivo said at the time that it was cooperating with Indian authorities in their investigation.

In July last year, India's Delhi High Court allowed the unfreezing of vivo bank accounts subject to a bank guarantee of 9.5 billion rupees.

Vivo is the second largest smartphone brand in India, with a market share of 17% in the second quarter of this year, behind Samsung, according to Counterpoint data.

In addition to vivo, Indian regulators have also targeted Chinese smartphone companies OPPO and Xiaomi over the past 18 months, and froze nearly $700 million of Xiaomi assets.

Earlier this month, Indian police formally charged Xiaomi and vivo for allegedly helping transfer funds illegally to news site NewsClick.

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