Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Stock

Exclusive: ByteDance says India’s freeze on bank accounts is harassment – court filing

Stock Markets6 minutes ago (Apr 04, 2021 06:05AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: ByteDance logo is seen in this illustration

By Abhirup Roy and Aditya Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) – China’s ByteDance has told an Indian court that a government freeze on its bank accounts in a probe of possible tax evasion amounts to harassment and was done illegally, according to a filing seen by Reuters.

ByteDance in January reduced its Indian workforce after New Delhi maintained a ban on its popular video app TikTok, imposed last year after a border clash between India and China. Beijing has repeatedly criticised India over that ban and those of other Chinese apps.

An Indian tax intelligence unit in mid-March ordered HSBC and Citibank in Mumbai to freeze bank accounts of ByteDance India as it probed some of the unit’s financial dealings. ByteDance has challenged the freeze on the four accounts in a Mumbai court.

None of ByteDance India’s employees have been paid their March salaries due to the account freeze, said two people familiar with the matter. The company told the court it has a workforce of 1,335, including outsourced personnel.

In the 209-page court filing lodged on March 25, ByteDance told the High Court in Mumbai the authorities acted against the company without any material evidence and gave no prior notice, as required by Indian law, before such “drastic action”.

Blocking accounts “during the process of investigation amounts (to) applying undue coercion,” ByteDance argued. It is “intended, improperly, to harass the petitioner.”

India’s Directorate General of Goods & Services Tax Intelligence, and the finance ministry which oversees it, did not immediately respond to requests for comment over the weekend.

The details of the tax investigation have not previously been reported. The tax agency told ByteDance last year it had reasons to believe the company suppressed certain transactions and claimed excessive tax credits, the filing shows.

ByteDance declined to comment on its court filing but told Reuters on Tuesday it disagrees with the decision of the tax authority. HSBC declined to comment, while Citibank did not respond.

ADVERTISING, OTHER DEALS SCRUTINISED

The court declined to grant ByteDance immediate relief in a brief hearing on Wednesday. The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The investigation centres on potential evasion of taxes related to online advertising and other financial dealings between ByteDance India and its parent entity in Singapore, TikTok Pte Ltd. TikTok did not respond to an email seeking comment.

ByteDance told the court its India workforce includes 800 people working in its “trust and safety” team that supports activities like content moderation overseas.

The company has “robust business plans in India and is not contemplating winding up,” it said, urging the court to lift the freeze on the accounts.

The tax agency started investigating the company in July. It inspected documents at the company’s office and summoned and questioned at least three executives, the filing says. Authorities also asked ByteDance to submit documents, including invoices and agreements signed with some clients.

ByteDance representatives “appeared multiple times” before tax officers and provided documents, the filing says.

TikTok, one of India’s most popular video apps before it was banned, has faced scrutiny around the world.

Under then-President Donald Trump, the United States alleged the app posed national security concerns. The new administration of Joe Biden has paused a government lawsuit that could have resulted in a de facto ban on TikTok’s use there.

Exclusive: ByteDance says India’s freeze on bank accounts is harassment – court filing

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Uncategorized

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt.

Uncategorized

Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione.

Uncategorized

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum.

Uncategorized

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora.

Disclaimer: Buzzclever.com it's managers and its employees (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised or above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial or health advice. Copyright © 2021 Buzz Clever. All Rights Reserved