No immediate relief to ByteDance on plea to lift bank account freeze

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to provide any immediate relief to the local unit of China’s ByteDance which sought lifting of a freeze on its bank accounts to pay salaries.

A two-judge bench set the next hearing for April 6, after the government counsel objected to ByteDance’s plea.

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Indian authorities had blocked ByteDance India’s accounts at Citibank and HSBC over alleged evasion of taxes related to its online advertising deals with its Singapore-based parent entity, TikTok Pte, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

“At ByteDance, we are committed to abiding by local laws and regulations,” a company spokesperson told ET on Tuesday in response to a query on the government action. “While we disagree with the decision of the tax authority in this matter, we will extend our full cooperation to the government,” the spokesperson said.

Last year, tax authorities had inspected documents at the company’s office and questioned some executives over the transactions with its parent entity.

In January, ByteDance let go of many employees after the government banned its short-video app TikTok, among many other Chinese apps, amid border tensions with China. While the company has shut down its India operations, it still has about 1,300 employees in India, working largely in content moderation, servicing its international operations.

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