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Indian restaurant’s property seized in NZ for tax fraud

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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)

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France, New Zealand Seek to Curb Online Extremism

Australian national Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white supremacist, is the suspect in the March 15 Christchurch attack, during which he fired at people while they were praying

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said the country will join forces with France against the use of social media to organise and promote terrorism.

Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron will chair a meeting in Paris with representatives of countries and technology companies to seek their agreement to a pledge called “Christchurch Call” to eliminate violent extremist content online, Efe news reported.

The meeting will take place on May 15, exactly two months after the attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch, in which 50 people were killed and which was broadcast live through Facebook by the attacker.

Ardern denounced the “unprecedented” use of social media as a tool to promote terrorism and hate in that attack and called for a “show of leadership” to ensure social media is never used in that way again.

“We all need to act, and that includes social media providers taking more responsibility for the content that is on their platforms, and taking action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared,” she said in a statement.

A migrant is seen in silhouette near flames from a burning makeshift shelter on the second day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the “Jungle” in Calais, France, Oct. 25, 2016. VOA

“It’s critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism. This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies,” she added.

The meeting in Paris will be held alongside the “Tech for Humanity” meeting of G7 Digital Ministers, of which France is the Chair, and France’s separate “Tech for Good” summit, both scheduled on May 15.

Also Read- China Places Petitioners Under Surveillance, City-Wide Security

Australian national Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white supremacist, is the suspect in the March 15 Christchurch attack, during which he fired at people while they were praying.

Facebook took down 1.5 million copies of the video in the 24 hours after the attack, while YouTube announced that it had removed tens of thousands of videos of the assault – an “unprecedented” number in terms of its reach and the speed with which it spread online. (IANS)