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India’s Authorities Seize Over $30 Million in Crackdown on Crypto Fraud

India’s financial watchdogs, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), have intensified efforts to curb crypto scams in the country, resulting in the seizure of over $30 million in assets related to fraudulent activities.

In a significant blow to the ‘E-Nugget’ scam, the ED has confiscated a staggering INR 90 crores (approximately $10.7 million) worth of cryptocurrencies. Two individuals, Aamir Khan and Romen Agarwal, have been apprehended and charged in connection with the scheme, which operated as a gaming platform promising substantial returns on investments. However, once investments were made, the platform went offline, leaving investors unable to retrieve their funds.

The investigation revealed that the scammers utilized 2,500 dummy bank accounts to orchestrate the scheme, with a portion of the funds being funneled into cryptocurrencies. Through collaboration with exchanges like Binance, ZebPay, and WazirX, the ED managed to freeze funds totaling nearly INR 90 crore held in 70 accounts linked to the scam. In total, the ED has seized assets worth INR 163 crore (approximately $19 million), including cash, cryptocurrencies, bank account balances, and office spaces.

In a separate operation, the CBI has conducted nationwide searches related to a fake cryptocurrency mining scam involving two companies, Shigoo Technology Private Limited and Lillian Technocab Private Limited, associated with the HPZ token app. The app, posing as a cryptocurrency mining platform, lured investors with promises of high returns on investments in crypto-mining hardware rentals. The scammers utilized 150 bank accounts to collect funds and subsequently transferred the illicit funds out of India using cryptocurrencies.

Previously, the ED had seized assets worth INR 176.67 crores (approximately $21 million) linked to the HPZ token app scam.

These crackdowns are part of India’s broader efforts to closely monitor the cryptocurrency space amid concerns about potential money laundering activities. Cryptocurrency service providers in the country are required to register with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and adhere to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

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