Indian Enforcement Directorate Freezes $11.1 Million in Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Probe
On April 24, the Indian Enforcement Directorate made headlines by freezing over $11.1 million in connection with an ongoing investigation into money laundering using a cryptocurrency called HPZ token. This move followed searches conducted at three banks and payment gateway providers across the country that served entities involved in money laundering. The search operations were carried out by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The ED’s investigation was initiated based on an FIR registered by Cyber Crime Police Station, Kohima, Nagaland, under various sections of IPC against HPZ token & others. The HPZ Token was an App-Based Token that promised users of large gains against investment by investing in mining machines for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, investigation unearthed a larger conspiracy and involvement of various entities in money laundering.
The investigation revealed that Lillian Technocab Pvt. Ltd and Shigoo Technology Private Limited were involved in the operation and collection of money from investors in the name of HPZ token. Bhupesh Arora and his associates had control over Shigoo Technology Private limited and he was indulged in operating unregistered gaming Apps/website in this company and various other entities and was collecting money fraudulently from the gullible public in the garb of these Apps/website.
During the searches, the total amount of Rs. 91.6 Crore was found lying in various Bank accounts/Merchant Accounts maintained with Banks/Payment Gateways of the entities involved in money laundering, and the same was frozen. The total freezing in this case is now Rs. 178 Crore (Approx).
The move by the ED to freeze the funds is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the misuse of HPZ token and other similar applications by several entities. The ED’s actions send a strong message to those involved in money laundering that their illegal activities will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
The ED has stated that further investigation is in progress, and it remains to be seen what other developments will come to light in this case. However, this action by the ED is a clear indication of the government’s resolve to combat money laundering and illicit activities in the cryptocurrency space.
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