Connect with us

Reuters

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

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.

Published

on

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.

FILE PHOTO: The ByteDance logo is seen in this illustration taken, Nov. 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

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.

Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Mumbai and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by William Mallard

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bytedance-india-tax-exclusive/exclusive-bytedance-says-indias-freeze-on-bank-accounts-is-harassment-court-filing-idUSKBN2BR09V?il=0

exclusive:-bytedance-says-india's-freeze-on-bank-accounts-is-harassment---court-filing

Reuters

U.S. ready to lift many sanctions but Iran wants more – top Iran nuclear delegate

The United States has expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions on Iran at the Vienna nuclear talks but Tehran is demanding more, top Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state media on Friday.

Published

on

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, attends a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria, September 1, 2020. European Commission EbS – EEAS/Handout via REUTERS

The United States has expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions on Iran at the Vienna nuclear talks but Tehran is demanding more, top Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state media on Friday.

“The information transferred to us from the U.S. side is that they are also serious on returning to the nuclear deal and they have so far declared their readiness to lift a great part of their sanctions,” Araqchi told state TV.

“But this is not adequate from our point of view and therefore the discussions will continue until we get to all our demands,” Araqchi said.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/us-ready-lift-many-sanctions-iran-wants-more-top-iran-nuclear-delegate-2021-05-07/

u.s.-ready-to-lift-many-sanctions-but-iran-wants-more---top-iran-nuclear-delegate

Continue Reading

Reuters

U.S. Commerce Dept. pressing Taiwan to supply more chips to U.S. automakers

The U.S. Commerce Department is pressing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330.TW) and other Taiwanese firms to prioritize the needs of U.S. automakers to ease chip shortages in the near term, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday.

Published

on

The logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is pictured at its headquarters, in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Jan. 19, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

The U.S. Commerce Department is pressing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330.TW) and other Taiwanese firms to prioritize the needs of U.S. automakers to ease chip shortages in the near term, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday.

Raimondo told a Council of the Americas event that longer term, increased investment was needed to produce more semiconductors in the United States and that other critical supply chains needed re-shoring, including to allied countries.

“We’re working hard to see if we can get the Taiwanese and TSMC, which is a big company there, to, you know, prioritize the needs of our auto companies since there’s so many American jobs on the line,” Raimondo said in response to a question from a General Motors Co (GM.N) executive.

“As I said, there’s not a day goes by that we don’t push on that,” she said, adding the medium- and long-term solution would be “simply making more chips in America.”

TSMC said that addressing the shortage remained its top priority.

“TSMC has been working with all parties to alleviate the automotive chip supply shortage, we understand it is a shared concern of the worldwide automotive industry,” it said in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said last month the company had worked with its customers since January to reallocate more capacity to support the auto industry, but the shortage had worsened due to a snowstorm in Texas and a fab manufacturing disruption in Japan.

Wei expected the chip shortage for its auto clients to be greatly reduced from the next quarter.

The Commerce Department is planning a high-level meeting with automakers set to take place next week on the chip shortage issue, said officials briefed on the matter. A Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment.

United Auto Workers Legislative Director Josh Nassar said in written testimony for a U.S. House hearing on Wednesday that the chips shortage has resulted in the layoffs of “tens of thousands of workers … Clearly, we need to bolster domestic production of automotive-quality semiconductors.”

Last week, Ford Motor Co (F.N) warned the chips shortage may slash second-quarter production by half, cost it about $2.5 billion and about 1.1 million units of lost production in 2021.

GM said on Friday it would extend production halts at several North American factories because of the shortage.

On April 12, Biden convened semiconductor and auto industry executives to discuss solutions to the chip crisis. He backs $50 billion to support U.S. chip manufacturing and research.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/us-commerce-dept-pressing-taiwan-supply-more-chips-us-automakers-2021-05-04/

u.s.-commerce-dept.-pressing-taiwan-to-supply-more-chips-to-u.s.-automakers

Continue Reading

Reuters

India’s daily COVID-19 cases pass 400,000 for first time as second wave worsens

India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave, and the country’s massive new vaccination drive was hampered in some areas by shortages of the shots.

Published

on

India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave, and the country’s massive new vaccination drive was hampered in some areas by shortages of the shots.

Authorities reported 401,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours, after 10 consecutive days of more than 300,000 daily cases. Deaths jumped by 3,523, taking the country’s total toll to 211,853, according to the federal health ministry.

The surge in infections has overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums and left families scrambling for scarce medicines and oxygen. And while India is the world’s biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, shortages of the shots in some states hindered the opening of vaccinations for all adults.

West Bengal state was unable to start a drive aimed at adults aged between 18 and 45 due to a shortage of shots and urged the federal government to provide more supplies, a senior state health official said, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak with media.

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of the hard-hit state of Delhi on Friday urged people not to queue at vaccination centres, promising more vaccines would arrive “tomorrow or the day after”.

Eastern Odisha state said on Friday it had received a consignment of 150,000 shots but would only allow a few people to get shots due to lockdown restrictions preventing movement.

In Ahmedabad, the main commercial city in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, hundreds of people lined up for their shots.

“I took my first dose and I am appealing to all students to take the vaccine and be safe,” said Raj Shah, a 27-year-old student in the city.

India has received 150,000 Sputnik-V vaccine doses from Russia and millions more doses will follow, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

DELHI STILL GASPING

Shortages of medical oxygen have plagued the medical system.

In New Delhi’s Batra Hospital, local media reported that eight people including a doctor died on Saturday after the facility ran out of oxygen.

“Delhi required 976 tonnes of oxygen and yesterday only 312 tonnes of oxygen was given. How does Delhi breathe in such a low oxygen?” chief minister Kejriwal tweeted.

At a hearing on Saturday, the Delhi high court took note of the deaths at Batra Hospital and told the federal government to make arrangements for the allocated supply of oxygen to be given to Delhi.

Manisha Bashu presses the chest of her father, who is suffering from breathing problem, after he felt unconscious while receiving oxygen support for free at a Gurudwara (Sikh temple), amidst the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ghaziabad, India, April 30, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

“Enough is enough,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said.

The federal government’s counsel told the court: “We are doing maximum to what human limit can go.”

Desperate coronavirus patients continued to arrive at hospitals despite a shortage of beds.

Gasping for air, 62-year-old Vijay Gupta was turned away by Holy Family hospital, a non-profit private facility in the southeast of the capital, as all of its 385 beds were full.

His family and friends debated what to do try next.

“We have been roaming around since 6 a.m. looking for a bed,” said Gupta’s friend Rajkumar Khandelwal. “Where shall we go?”

A fire in a hospital about 190 km (115 miles) south of Ahmedabad killed 16 coronavirus patients and two staff, the latest in a series of deadly accidents at hospitals. read more

The Delhi government said it will extend for another seven days a lockdown it first imposed for a week on April 19.

WARNING SIGNS IGNORED

Daily infections have soared since the start of April. Some experts blame mass religious gatherings and political rallies for the severity of India’s second wave, which caught the government unprepared.

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Modi administration warned officials in early March of a new and more contagious variant taking hold in the country, five scientists who are part of the forum told Reuters. read more

Four of the scientists said that despite the warning, the federal government did not seek to impose major restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. Millions, largely unmasked, attended religious gatherings and election rallies that were held by Modi, leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition politicians.

The surge in India has come as many countries are seeing the pandemic ease.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday banned most travel from India in restrictions that will take effect from Tuesday. read more

Other countries and territories have also imposed travel restrictions on India, including Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy and Singapore. Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended all commercial travel with India. read more

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Eastern Odisha state said on Friday it had received a consignment of 150,000 shots but would only allow a few people to get shots due to lockdown restrictions preventing movement.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/india-posts-record-daily-rise-covid-19-cases-401993-2021-05-01/

india’s-daily-covid-19-cases-pass-400,000-for-first-time-as-second-wave-worsens

Continue Reading

Title

Blockchain news9 hours ago

Kazakhstan Launches Public Consultation for Its Proposed CBDC

Kazakhstan is advancing its digital tenge project with a use case design and stakeholder consultation.

ZDNET11 hours ago

Colonial Pipeline cyberattack shuts down pipeline that supplies 45% of East Coast’s fuel

The attack highlights how ransomware and other cyberattacks are increasingly a threat to real-world infrastructure.

Techcrunch19 hours ago

Daily Crunch: A huge fintech exit as the week ends – TechCrunch

Hello friends and welcome to Daily Crunch, bringing you the most important startup, tech and venture capital news in a...

Blockchain news22 hours ago

Nasdaq-Listed Metromile Backs Bitcoin for its Insurance Products

Auto insurance company Metromile is thinking of investing in Bitcoin.

CNBC1 day ago

The stock market may be misreading what this weak jobs report means for the Fed

The disappointing April jobs report reinforces the Fed's easy policies, but some strategists still expect the Fed to move toward...

Reuters1 day ago

U.S. ready to lift many sanctions but Iran wants more – top Iran nuclear delegate

The United States has expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions on Iran at the Vienna nuclear talks...

ZDNET2 days ago

FlexiSpot Bamboo EN1 review: Affordable electric standing desk with stand interval reminders

Working from home or working for long hours in an office can wear on you so changing up the scenery...

CNBC2 days ago

Peloton reports sales up 141% as cycle demand remains strong, says it’s working to quickly fix treadmills

Peloton said Thursday it expects its fiscal fourth-quarter sales to take a $165 million hit due to a treadmill recall.

Bioengineer2 days ago

The factors that improve job resiliency in North American cities have been identified

Credit: UC3M The researchers in this study reached this conclusion by drawing on network modelling research and mapped the job

Crunchbase2 days ago

Sweden’s Einride Raises $110M For Autonomous And Electric Freight

Electric and autonomous freight tech company Einride has raised $110 million in a Series B round, the company announced Thursday.

Review

    Select language

    Trending