India says Oppo’s local unit evaded customs duty worth $550 million

India’s Directorate Of Revenue Intelligence, part of the country’s finance ministry, said on Wednesday phone-maker Oppo’s India unit evaded customs duty of $550 million, following similar probes into local units of other Chinese giants Xiaomi and Vivo that prompted Beijing to issue a warning earlier this month.

The finance ministry said it has found evidence that Oppo India wilfully incorrectly declared description of certain items it imported, which allowed it to avail duty exemption benefits of $374.3 million.

The ministry questioned senior management of Oppo India, who it says, “accepted the submission of wrongful description before the Customs Authorities at the time of import.”

The ministry says that Oppo India also deals for other brands including OnePlus and Realme. If the market share of all these units are combined, Oppo India is the largest smartphone vendor in the country. It did not immediately responded to a request for comment.

“During the course of investigation, searches were conducted by DRI at the office premises of Oppo India and residences of its key management employees, which led to the recovery of incriminating evidence indicating wilful mis-declaration in the description of certain items imported by Oppo India for use in the manufacture of mobile phones,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

Additionally, Oppo India also made royalty and licence fee payments of over $176 million to other companies, including some in China, and did not disclose those transactions in the value of goods imported by them, violating the country’s Section 14 of the Customs Act, 1962, the ministry added. Oppo India has “voluntarily deposited” about $56.5 million as partial differential customs duty, the ministry added.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

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