ByteDance Calls India’s Bank Account Freeze Harassment: Reuters

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ByteDance, the Chinese parent of video app TikTok, told an Indian court that the government’s freeze on its bank accounts is harassment and was done illegally, according to a filing seen by Reuters.

Indian tax authorities in March ordered HSBC and Citibank to freeze the tech company’s bank accounts in the country amid a probe into its financial dealings, Reuters said.

In a challenge to the freeze in a Mumbai court, ByteDance said in a filing lodged March 25 the move was without any material evidence and gave no prior notice as required by Indian law, Reuters reported.

It is “intended, improperly, to harass the petitioner,” the news agency cited the filing as saying.

The tax intelligence unit and the finance ministry that oversees it did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment over the weekend. The tax agency told ByteDance last year it had reasons to believe the company suppressed certain transactions and claimed excessive tax credits, according to the filing.

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, Reuters said.

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