The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has seized funds worth Rs 8.26 crore of a Bengaluru-based online education company, fully owned and controlled by Chinese nationals, as part of a probe linked to the alleged contravention of the foreign exchange law. The funds of Pigeon Education Technology Private Limited have been seized under Section 37A of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), it said in a statement.
The company provided online education under the brand name “Odaclass”, it said. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches against the group in April and “found that the company is 100 per cent owned by Chinese nationals and all the affairs of the company, including financial decisions, are being taken by the persons sitting in China”.
It was ascertained, the agency alleged, that the company has siphoned off Rs 82.72 crore to China and Hong Kong in the name of advertisement and marketing expenses “on the instructions” of Chinese director Liu Can. “The company could not produce any proof of receipt of service on its part and proof of any advertisement published against the said expenses,” it said.
The director and accounts manager of the company “admitted” during the investigation that the payment was made only on the instructions of Can, the ED said. The company’s Indian director Vedanta Hamirwasia stated that the Chinese director told them that the advertisements were published through Google and Facebook. However, no confirmation or invoice raised by these platforms has been submitted, it added.
Story first published: Friday, May 19, 2023, 14:32 [IST]