India

ED files charge-sheet in money laundering case against Chinese company Vivo

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A view of Vivo and Oppo smart phone showrooms in India. The Chinese multinational technology companies are headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong. [Photo: WikiMedia/Tvcccp][Photo: WikiMedia/Tvcccp]

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has submitted its first charge sheet related to the money laundering investigation involving Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo and others, according to official sources reported by PTI on Thursday.

The prosecution complaint was presented before a special court on Wednesday, citing criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Vivo-India has been named as a defendant, alongside individuals previously arrested in connection with the case, as per sources quoted by the news agency.

The federal investigative agency had apprehended four individuals, including Hari Om Rai, the Managing Director of Lava International mobile company, in the course of this inquiry. Other detainees included Chinese national Guangwen, also known as Andrew Kuang, as well as Chartered Accountants Nitin Garg and Rajan Malik.

In its remand papers submitted to a local court earlier, the Enforcement Directorate had asserted that the actions of these four individuals facilitated wrongful gains for vivo-India, adversely affecting India’s economic sovereignty.

Last July, the agency had conducted raids on vivo-India and associated individuals, claiming to have dismantled a significant money laundering network involving Chinese nationals and multiple Indian companies.

During that period, the Enforcement Directorate alleged that an enormous sum of Rs 62,476 crore was “illegally” transferred by vivo-India to China in an attempt to evade tax payments in India. In response, the company asserted its commitment to ethical principles and legal compliance.

Hari Om Rai, MD of Lava International, informed the court recently that although discussions about a joint venture in India took place a decade ago between his company and vivo-India, he has had no involvement with the Chinese firm or its representatives since 2014.

According to Rai’s lawyer, as reported by PTI, he has not gained any financial benefits, engaged in transactions with vivo-India, or associated with any alleged ‘proceeds of crime.’

The Enforcement Directorate initiated an enforcement case information report (ECIR), equivalent to a police FIR, on February 3 after examining a Delhi Police FIR from December of the previous year against Grand Prospect International Communication Pvt Ltd (GPICPL), an associated company of vivo-India.

The complaint, filed by the Corporate Affairs Ministry, alleged the use of “forged” identification documents and “falsified” addresses during the incorporation of GPICPL in December 2014.

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