INDIA. Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday carried out a search operation and froze account balances of Rs. 9.82 crores, kept in a payment gateway account, of various Chinese-controlled entities involved in operating multiple suspicious loan/other Apps to dupe gullible investors.
ED had earlier frozen bank/virtual account balances amounting to Rs. 46.67 crores during the searches conducted on September 14, and with Thursday’s freezing, the total freezing, in this case, stands at Rs. 56.49 crores, an ED statement read.
The Chinese-controlled entities include Come in Network Technology Private Limited (registered office Gurgaon, Haryana), Mobicred Technology Private Limited (Bangalore, Karnataka), Magic Data Technology Private Limited (New Delhi), Baitu Technology Private Limited (Bangalore, Karnataka), Aliyeye Network Technology India Pvt Ltd (Bangalore), Wecash Technology Private Limited (Bangalore, Karnataka), Larting Private Limited (Bangalore, Karnataka), and Acepearl Services Private Limited (Bangalore, Karnataka) and WecashThese entities were misusing the app-based token named “HPZ” and other similar applications to cheat investors.
ED initiated a money laundering investigation based on an FIR dated October 8, 2021, filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, by Cyber Crime Police Station, Kohima, Nagaland, against HPZ tokens and others.
The HPZ Token promised users large returns on investment by declaring the same as “investing in mining machines for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”
The fraudsters’ strategy was to entice victims to invest in their companies under the guise of doubling or multiplying their investment via the “app HPZ Token” and other similar applications.
ED investigation revealed that various Chinese-controlled entities, viz., Comein Network Technology Private Limited and others, in service agreements with various NBFCs, were also operating multiple suspicious loan or other apps (such as Cashhome, Cashmart, EasyLoan, etc.) and indulged in receiving funds from the public on the pretext of operating these apps.
Such apps flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic since people faced financial stringency and required quick cash. During those days, these apps lent money for periods ranging from a week to 30 days with heavy interest rates and processing fees.
Gaming app e-nuggets
In another case, the ED froze 77.62710139 bitcoins (equivalent to approximately US$157,3466 and Rs 12,83 crore) under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, in connection with an investigation being conducted against one Aamir Khan and others relating to the mobile gaming application E-nuggets.
ED initiated a money laundering investigation based on an FIR dated February 15, 2021, filed under various sections of the IPC by Park Street Police Station, Kolkata Police, against Aamir Khan and others, based on the complaint filed by Federal Bank authorities in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Kolkata.
Aamir Khan, the son of Nesar Ahmed Khan, launched a mobile gaming application namely E-Nuggets, which was designed to defraud the public.
After collecting a sizable amount of money from the public, all of a sudden, withdrawals from the said app were stopped on one pretext or another. Thereafter, all data, including profile information, was wiped off of the said app servers, the ED stated.
An ED investigation revealed that the accused was using Crypto Currency Exchange to transfer a portion of the money illegally earned through the gaming app (E-Nuggets) overseas. It was discovered that one such dummy account was opened in the WazirX (crypto exchange) in the name of Sima Naskar [Proprietor of M/s Pixal Design], which was used to purchase cryptocurrencies and crypto assets.
Thereafter, the said cryptocurrencies were further transferred to another account on another crypto exchange, namely “Binance.”
The ED froze the balance of said transferred cryptocurrencies, 77.62710139 bitcoins (equivalent to the US $ 157.3466 (roughly Rs 12.83 crore)) at the Binance crypto exchange.
Earlier, during a search operation conducted at the premises of Aamir Khan, an amount of Rs 17.32 crore was found and seized from his residential premises.
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