Saturday, May 25, 2024

ED freezes over Rs 120-cr bank deposits in probe against Chinese-controlled gambling, loan apps

Must read

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has frozen about Rs 123 crore worth bank deposits during recent searches in Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi as part of money laundering investigation against “Chinese-controlled” betting and loan apps which allegedly duped numerous people.
The searches were carried out on February 23-24 against a company named NIUM India Pvt Ltd and its directors based in Mumbai, Xoduz Solution Pvt Ltd, Vikrah Trading Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Tyrannus Technology Pvt Ltd, Future Vision Media Solutions Pvt Ltd, Aprikiwi Solution Pvt Ltd. in Chennai and Raphael James Rozario at Kochi.

A total of 10 locations in Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi were covered, the federal agency said in a statement.

The money laundering case stems from FIRs registered by the Kerala and Haryana Police on the complaints given by various persons who were cheated through online platforms that indulged in giving loans, gambling through apps (mobile applications) being controlled by Chinese entities, the ED said.

The proceeds of crime generated from these apps and similar platforms are aggregated and laundered through mule accounts opened in various banks in Kerala using payment aggregators, the agency said.

These funds, it claimed, were collected and layered through multiple shell companies in Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai etc., and were finally being remitted outside India through various channels such as cryptocurrency, against fake imports of software from Singapore, forex currency purchases, etc. According to the ED, the accused opened many shell entities in India and they used them to send the alleged illegal funds to shell companies floated in Singapore. “These Singapore shell entities would raise fake invoices for supply of software/other services in the name of the shell Indian entities in India where the proceeds of crime would have already been aggregated.

“These invoices are shared by a global forex settlement platform named NIUM Singapore Pte Ltd. (Singapore) who has an Indian subsidiary company named NIUM India Pvt. Ltd. to collect the money from Indian entities based on fake invoices.”

Outward remittances were made to NIUM Singapore Pte Ltd in the name of payment for technical services and such funds used to be credited in the virtual wallet of the Singapore-based shell entities, the agency said.

Except the fake invoice, the probe found, no other documentation was collected by NIUM India Pvt Ltd from the remitters.

“In this manner, the shell remitter, the shell remittee and the sham import transactions were concealed from the bank and monitoring agencies and the proceeds of crime are thereby laundered out of India,” the ED claimed.

Deposits worth about Rs 123 crore which are suspected to be the proceeds of crime, belonging to shell entities of Singapore and parked in bank accounts of NIUM Indian Pvt. Ltd. on their behalf, have been frozen during the searches, it said.

Latest article