In a two-year-old game app fraud case, India’s top financial crime investigation agency has frozen 85.9 bitcoins, equivalent to $1.6 million, in a Binance account. Separately, it also froze WRX, WazirX’s native currency, and USDT together, worth almost $550,000.
Earlier this month, the agency raided several premises in Kolkata in this case and recovered Indian currency equivalent to $2.2 million. The accused in this scam estimated at 8.5 million dollars is Aamir Khan, 25 years old.
E-Nuggets, which operated mainly during the Covid-19 lockdown, offered various games and an app wallet service for participants to deposit their money and earn attractive incentives.
“Aamir Khan… launched a mobile gaming app, E-Nuggets, which was designed for the purpose of swindling the public. Also, after collecting a considerable amount of money from the public, suddenly the withdrawal of the said application was stopped on one pretext or the other, ED said in its statement.
The investigating agency further added that the accused deleted all data and profile information from the app’s servers.
Giving details of the crypto option the accused chose to hide the money, the investigating agency said Khan opened a fake account on WazirX, bought crypto assets and transferred them to Binance.
“The balance of these transferred cryptocurrencies is 77.62710139 Bitcoins [equivalent to USD 1573466 (Rs 12.83 Crore approximately)] on the Binance crypto exchange has been frozen,” the ED said.
Initially, Federal Bank, a national level commercial bank, filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Park Street Police Station in Kolkata on February 15, 2022. The bank complained of alleged money laundering activities of money tied to Aamir Khan’s gaming app. But the local police took no interest in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) began its investigation at the behest of the Union Finance Ministry, which reportedly received alerts about the scam and its possible links to money laundering.
Aamir Khan could not be arrested by the ED on 10 September when it conducted searches, but was finally arrested on 25 September. Kolkata police also suspended the investigating officer, accused of lax investigation, following the ED action.
Amid heightened regulatory scrutiny, the ED has been on the lookout for fintech companies, crypto exchanges and cryptocurrency scammers in recent months.
Last month, CryptoPotato reported that the agency was investigating 10 private companies for allegedly laundering more than $125 million. ED has been looking at WazirX, Vauld and CoinDCX for the past month or so.
Featured image courtesy of Statesman
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