ED Files Charges Against Chinese-Origin Directors, Others in Crypto Mining App Case

Liem Soeng

ED Files Charges Against Chinese-Origin Directors, Others in Crypto Mining App Case

A charge-sheet has been filed under the anti-money laundering law against 299 entities, including 10 persons of Chinese origin, in an investigation linked to alleged duping of investors in the name of mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins, the Enforcement Directorate said on Wednesday.

A special court in Dimapur in Nagaland on Tuesday took cognisance of the prosecution complaint filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the federal agency said in a statement.

A total of 299 entities, including 76 Chinese-controlled entities in which 10 directors are of Chinese origin and two controlled by other foreign nationals, have been named as accused, it said.

The Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) case of money laundering stems from an FIR of the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Kohima Police.

The Kohima Police had booked various people under the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act for allegedly duping gullible investors by promising astronomical returns by mining Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

Police had said an app (mobile-phone application) by the name of “HPZ Token” was used by the accused to “cheat” the investors.

The ED said bank accounts and merchant IDs were opened by various “shell entities” having “dummy” directors for the purpose of “layering” of the proceeds of crime.

These funds were “fraudulently” received for illegal online gaming, betting and investment for Bitcoin mining, it claimed.

For an investment of Rs. 57,000, returns of Rs. 4,000 a day for three months were promised but money was paid only once, and thereafter, fresh funds were sought by the accused from the investors, the ED said.

Countrywide searches were undertaken by the ED in this case leading to the seizure of immovable assets and deposits worth Rs. 455 crore, it said.

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