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India Takes Legal Action against Xiaomi, Seizes over 55 Billion Rupees

According to a report from China’s Southern Metropolis Daily, Indian authorities investigating financial crimes have accused Xiaomi India, as well as the company’s director and three banks, of violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). As a result, Xiaomi’s funds of RMB 4.81 billion (US$0.67 billion) have been confiscated.

The Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleges that Xiaomi India and its senior executives were involved in the illegal transfer of funds. Additionally, the three banks, Citibank, HSBC, and Deutsche Bank, were charged for not conducting proper due diligence and allowing royalty payments to be remitted out of the country.

Consequently, approximately RMB 4.81 billion (55.5 billion rupees) of Xiaomi’s funds were frozen in the banks, effectively being seized by the authorities.

Xiaomi had experienced significant success in the Indian market since its entry in 2014, reaching the number one spot in 2017. The company had announced plans to invest $1 billion in Indian start-ups over five years. However, as the five-year plan was nearing completion, law enforcement agencies took action against Xiaomi’s Indian branch.

In May of the previous year, the Indian Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) accused Xiaomi and its Indian subsidiary of violating foreign exchange control laws. The AMLO claimed that, since 2015, Xiaomi had sent money to three overseas entities in the form of royalty payments, leading to the freezing of the subsidiary’s account assets.

Xiaomi India was also investigated for tax-related issues in December 2021, with the Indian Tax Intelligence Bureau notifying the company that it owed 6.53 billion rupees in import duties for the period between April 2017 and June 2020. A complaint filed by Xiaomi was rejected by the local Karnataka High Court in April of this year.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 13, 2023