Auckland: Indian restaurant Chain Masala got into trouble for tax fraud. The New Zealand police seized its 33 properties worth $34 million. It is considered the biggest cache of property ever restrained by the authorities in New Zealand.
The asset freeze came after allegations of tax fraud to the tune of $7.4 million dollars, newstalkzb.co.nz reported on Saturday.
Revenue authorities have been investigating 17 firms involved with the Masala chain for allegedly under-reporting earnings.
The restaurant chain owners, Joti Jain, Rupinder Chahil, Rajwinder Grewal and Supinder Singh have allegedly evaded paying tax by systematically stripping cash from the restaurants and not declaring cash sales in GST returns, investigator Elena Bryleva stated in an affidavit.
The brand came under scrutiny last year for paying its employees as little as $2 an hour. Co-owner Jain was sentenced to 11 months home detention last October after admitting immigration and exploitation charges.
According to Immigration New Zealand, one of her victims worked 66 hour weeks for months at the Takapuna restaurant and was also told to clean Jain’s house – all for no more than $3 an hour.
Masala founder Chahil is already facing six charges alleging he falsified immigration documents and supplied misleading information contrary to immigration laws.
Properties seized include a $3 million dollar house in Auckland’s Remuera area, a parcel of land in Takanini and four other properties believed to have been used as accommodation for Masala workers.
Some of the restaurants have since been sold and renamed.(IANS)
The South Canterbury Indian Cultural Society bagged the award for arts and culture by the Trustpower Timaru District Community Awards
Very few Indians live in Timaru but they show cooperation and solidarity when it comes to celebrating Indian festivals
Battu and Hari family are an example of the Indians keeping their culture alive in a foreign land
New Zealand, August 23, 2017: In the recent 2017 Trustpower Timaru District Community Awards for New Zealand, South Canterbury Indian Cultural Society bagged the winner’s prize in the arts and culture category. The award recognizes the efforts put in by the Cultural Society to spread its cultural celebrations with the majority of the people.
Post the victory, Timaru Herald’s reporter Rachael Comer visited two humble and welcoming Timaru Indian families. Her purpose was to investigate how miles away from the homeland to a strange land, the families have successfully kept their cultural identity alive.
The first door that the reporter knocked was the Battu Family. In September 2011, Akhil Battu along with wife Ravinder Battu moved to the Timaru city with their three-month-old daughter. Hailing from Punjab, the Battus resided in Auckland. But after four months, Primeport Timaru offered Akhil a job.
Akhil, who is a marine engineer, has traveled to many parts of the world. For a long time, he had stayed away from home. But now that he has his own family, he chose New Zealand to start a settled life.
The Battus have settled well with their two daughters Mannat and Mehar, who are six and two years old respectively. While the Kiwi lifestyle has been great for the Battu family, the Indian couple has not forgotten their culture.
Their decor of their house is an Indian and New Zealand mix. Many of the items, including the curtains, are Indian.
The couple also dines on Indian cuisine throughout the week. The daughters carry Indian cuisine for school lunch. However, it is not enforced on the children, it is them who love the Indian food. Mannat even shared how her friends at school love her lunch.
The couple also ensures to speak their native language and have explained to the children about the importance of knowing multiple languages. Punjabi is the most preferred language of use at home.
The couple prefers to have a spiritual belief rather than a religious belief. The whole family does meditation on a daily basis. The parents, as well as the kids, watch Indian TV channels. They are also vegetarian.
Mr. Battu admitted that his pay grade in India was better than his job in New Zealand, but he wanted a higher standard of living for his family.
The couple agrees that the few Indians who live in Timaru are extremely cooperative.
Next was the Hari family who had been living for quite some years now in the Timaru City. In 2003, Kashyap Hari hailing from Gujarat, came to Timaru when there very few Indians. Hari worked as a chartered accountant in the same firm as his brother.
He did go back to India in 2008 and went to a function with his parents where young girls and boys could meet. That is where he met his wife, Namrata. The couple got married and came to Timaru.
Namrata expressed her amazement as she recalls how she had never been out of India. She felt different initially but gradually settled.
The couple now live in Timaru with their two children. The Hindu family is strictly religious. Kashyap Hari imported a copper temple from India where the family prays every early morning. The family usually lights a candle while praying.
The family’s favorite food includes dahi, chapati, and rice. The family also celebrates a number of Hindu festivals to keep their culture alive.
The South Canterbury Indian Cultural Society:
Registered in 2012, the Cultural Society helps to promote Indian cultural celebrations along with all the diverse communities. Many Indian festivals such as Holi, Rakhi, Navratri, Diwali etc. are hosted by the Society for all of the New Zealand to enjoy. On the Diwali celebrations, more than 500 visitors come to the event.
Indian hospitality, including singing, dancing and Indian food is exclusive to these events. It is a sincere effort to promote the Hindu culture.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394
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The International Migration Outlook 2017 report concludes that asylum seekers from India are among the highest in the world
New Zealand has been the most preferred nation for asylum seekers from India
Resettlement and students overstaying their visas are the biggest reasons to this problem
New Delhi, July 20, 2017: The International Migration Outlook 2017 report states that Indians are among the highest asylum seekers in the world.
According to the report, New Zealand has been the most preferred destination for asylum seekers. Nationals of India, China and Fiji were the highest asylum seekers in New Zealand between 2012-2016. In the year 2015-2016, a total of 340 people sought asylum in New Zealand, out of which the highest was from India (11%) followed by China (9%).
Other countries like Latvia, Japan, Slovakia, Finland, Australia, UK and the US also receive a high number of asylum seekers from India.
Latvia is a small country in Europe with only 2 million population. Here too, Indians are the highest number of asylum seekers. In 2015-2016, out of 6,200 asylum requests, Indians were the highest at 18%.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has observed that Indians have sought asylum in 40 countries over the course of several years now. The two main factors for this is the fact that many students overstay their education visas and others opt for resettlement. Many people also choose to enter the high wage markets in abroad.
Loyola College’s Head of Department, Social Work, Gladstone Xavier said about the asylum seekers, “They have to prove a threat to life because of race, religion, political belief, political affiliations or gender. If not, the Refugee Status Branch will turn down the request or keep the decision pending.” Mr. Xavier has worked with Sri Lankan Refugees in India.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394
MILAN, June 6, 2017:For the Italian government, it seemed like a recipe for success: create an official “Made in Italy” logo to defend the country’s finest food exports from an army of foreign impersonators.
On supermarket shelves worldwide, a star-shaped logo would mark out real Italian cheeses, hams, pasta and sparkling wines from those that only look or sound Italian, such as Parmesan made in New Zealand or Prosecco bottled in Brazil.
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But Rome has discovered that even the simplest recipe can go wrong. Instead of unifying Italy’s food industry against a common enemy that is bagging billions of euros in sales, the government’s proposal for a Made in Italy certification quickly created bitter divisions.
A row has erupted over what it means to be truly Italian — should every single raw ingredient be made in Italy, for example — and now the project could be ditched altogether for lack of an industry consensus, according to two industry ministry sources who declined to be named as talks with food firms are ongoing.
“For now there is no final decision on whether to go ahead with the Made in Italy sign, we are studying it, we are doing technical checks,” said one of the sources, an industry ministry official who is working on the project.
“We will launch it only if it fully meets the requests of producers,” he said, adding that the food industry was split into several groups with conflicting views on the project.
The ministry announced the project at the end of last year, and began consultations with food producers in March, in response to industry complaints that foreign-made foods masquerading as Italian produce were costing the country billions of euros in lost export sales.
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A logo guaranteeing Italian origin would enable exporters to grab some of the roughly 60 billion euros ($67 billion) in annual global sales generated by foreign imitations, according to Italy’s food producers’ lobby, Federalimentare.
Marketing experts agree. Brand Finance, a global consultancy that compiles an index of the world’s most valuable brands, estimates it could add up to 5 percent to the enterprise value of small- and medium-sized Italian food companies.
“Domestic companies would surely gain from such a logo given that Italy has a high reputation in the food sector and many of them are not well known outside the country,” said Massimo Pizzo, Italy managing director for Brand Finance.
However, Federalimentare’s members could not agree on a definition of Italian-made. Some took a hard line, insisting products be made entirely in Italy from ingredients sourced at home, while others argued for a less stringent approach.
‘If we open the door’
The consortium of producers of Parmigiano Reggiano, the king of Italian cheeses, insists on rigid standards for everyone.
“If we open the door to products with foreign ingredients, we are not talking of real Made in Italy … this is not the kind of help we are looking for,” said Riccardo Deserti, chairman of the consortium.
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Under the consortium’s rules, recognized across the European Union, cheese can only be marketed as Parmigiano Reggiano, or by its English name Parmesan, if it is made according to a precise method within a restricted area around the town of Parma.
The consortium of Prosecco wine producers takes a similar stance, rejecting the idea of being put in the same authenticity category as products made with foreign raw materials.
On the other hand, some firms believe traditional Italian production methods should be enough to qualify for the logo.
“We are Italian, we pay taxes in Italy and we run our foreign plants following the rules of the Italian quality,” Paolo Barilla, vice chairman of the family-owned business, told a food conference in March. A Barilla spokesman declined to make any further comment for this story.
One of Italy’s most identifiable food brands, the high-end food chain Eataly, draws a finer line on the issue.
It recently opened its first store in Moscow where an embargo on some European food imports forced it to make some cheeses from local ingredients. It sells mozzarella and burrata made in Russia, but not Parmigiano.
Olive and oak
Italian food producers can at least agree on one thing: Foreign rivals are competing unfairly by marketing distinctly Italian products, using words and symbols that suggest an Italian origin but listing the real provenance in fine print.
They point the finger at goods such as New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra’s Perfect Italiano range of Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses or Garibaldi Prosecco made in Brazil by the Garibaldi Winery Cooperative.
“I totally agree with the idea of a Made in Italy sign,” Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti told Reuters at the inauguration of the store, but did not say whether he sided with the Italian-made purists or the likes of Barilla.
Contacted by Reuters, a Fonterra spokesperson said the group markets the two cheeses using their Italian names and featuring the Italian flag because they were launched by Natale Italiano, an Italian who migrated to Australia in the 1920s.
“While the brand is proud of its heritage, its packaging is evolving away from featuring the Italian flag,” Fonterra said.
The group did not disclose the turnover of the Perfect Italiano products.
Garibaldi Winery did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
The Rome government had proposed a Made in Italy logo employing the symbols of the Italian republic: a star framed by olive and oak branches.
The project, however, was constrained by EU rules.
The government planned to include products if their last “significant transformation” happened in Italy, the ministry official said — meaning, for example, sausages produced in Italy using imported meat would qualify for the label while ham made in a foreign plant of an Italian producer would not.
This would bring the logo into line with the European Customs Code governing country-of-origin labeling, but the plan satisfied neither side in the food fight; the purists balked at the idea of foreign ingredients being allowed, while other firms argued the rules were too stringent.
Hence the impasse that threatens the project.
“Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t use a different standard from the one used in Europe,” said the source. (VOA)