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An Indian court on Wednesday lifted a freeze on smartphone maker Vivo’s bank accounts imposed by the country’s financial crime agency and ordering the Chinese company to provide a bank guarantee of $119 million (roughly Rs. 950 crore), a lawyer for the company told Reuters.

In a filing to the Delhi High Court in the capital, Vivo India had said it would not be able to pay statutory dues and salaries, listing 10 affected bank accounts and saying it needed to make monthly payments of Rs. 2,826 crore.

ED contended that presently the proceeds of crime have been quantified to Rs. 1200 crore.
The high court also asked the company to maintain a balance of Rs. 251 crore in the bank accounts, which was there at the time of freezing of the accounts, and the amount shall not be used till further orders.

The court granted one week to the ED to file its response to the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on July 28.

An Indian court on Wednesday lifted a freeze on smartphone maker Vivo’s bank accounts imposed by the country’s financial crime agency and ordering the Chinese company to provide a bank guarantee of $119 million (roughly Rs. 950 crore), a lawyer for the company told Reuters.

In a filing to the Delhi High Court in the capital, Vivo India had said it would not be able to pay statutory dues and salaries, listing 10 affected bank accounts and saying it needed to make monthly payments of Rs. 2,826 crore.

In a brief court hearing on Friday, the court had granted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) until July 13 to decide on that request, and set its next hearing on that date.

Last week, the agency said it had blocked funds of Rs. 465 crore in 119 bank accounts linked to Vivo’s India business and its associates, as it investigates alleged money laundering by the smartphone maker.

News of the agency’s raids on Vivo had prompted China’s embassy in India to call for a fair business environment for its firms, saying multiple investigations of the companies damaged the confidence of foreign entities.

Vivo has said it was cooperating with authorities and was committed to fully complying with Indian laws.

The company ranks among India’s biggest smartphone makers with market share of 15 percent, according to Counterpoint Research.

Market leader Xiaomi has the biggest share, at 24 percent, while South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has 18 percent.

In May, Reuters reported that Xiaomi, one of India’s biggest smartphone sellers, had said in court that its executives faced threats of violence and coercion during agency questioning about accusations of illegal remittances.

Xiaomi has denied wrongdoing, and the agency denied the accusations at the time.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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