India seizes $725 million in Xiaomi assets over illegal remittances

Staff members stand near the company logo at a Xiaomi store in Shanghai, China November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

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NEW DELHI, April 30 (Reuters) – India said on Saturday it had seized $725 million from the local bank accounts of China’s Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK) after a probe found the smartphone maker had made illegal remittances to foreign entities by passing them off as royalty payments.

India’s financial crime fighting agency, the Enforcement Directorate, had been investigating the Chinese company’s business practices over suspected violations of Indian foreign exchange laws. read more

The agency said on Saturday it had seized the bank account assets from Xiaomi Technology India Private Limited after finding the firm had remitted the foreign currency equivalent of 55.5 billion rupees to three foreign-based entities, including one Xiaomi group entity, “in the guise of royalty” payments.

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“Such huge amounts in the name of royalties were remitted on the instructions of their Chinese parent group entities,” the directorate said in a statement.

Xiaomi did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has previously told Reuters it was “cooperating with authorities with their ongoing investigation to ensure they have all the requisite information”.

The directorate’s actions signal widening scrutiny of the Chinese smartphone maker, whose India office was raided in December in a separate investigation over alleged income tax evasion.

Some other Chinese smartphone markers were also raided at the time.

Reuters reported on April 12 that Xiaomi’s former India head, Manu Kumar Jain, had been summoned for questioning as part of the directorate’s investigation. read more

Jain, who is now a global vice president at Xiaomi based in Dubai, appeared before investigators earlier this month, said a source with direct knowledge of the probe, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

As part of the probe, the Enforcement Directorate also asked the company for details of foreign funding, shareholding and funding patterns, financial statements and information of key executives running the business.

($1 = 76.5200 Indian rupees)

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Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi Editing by William Mallard and Helen Popper

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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