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Why did the Enforcement Directorate seize nearly 150 bitcoins worth Rs 23 crore?

The cryptocurrency was seized under the PMLA anti-money laundering law in India in yet another action against ‘fraud’ lending apps

As many as 150 bitcoins were frozen by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in wallets listed on the Binance crypto exchange following a search operation, according to a press release put out by the agency on November 11th. These bitcoins were worth nearly Rs 23 crore and were frozen under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Why it matters: The operation is a sobering reminder of how Indian authorities have intensified their crackdown against fraudulent apps which deceive users by promising them exorbitant returns on their investments. The investigation also highlights how many of these apps, including illegal loan apps, resort to converting their gains into crypto tokens as they can be laundered without leaving a trace. Why were they frozen: The agency revealed that it was conducting an investigation into a mobile gaming application— E-nuggets— following an FIR (First Investigation Report) registered on February 15, 2021 in Kolkata. Who registered the complaint: The complaint was filed by Federal Bank authorities against Aamir Khan who launched the gaming application. They wrote that the app was “designed for the purpose of defrauding (the) public”. What happened after the app was launched: The agency claimed that the app collected a “sizeable amount” from the public after which the app “stopped offering the withdrawal option” suddenly under one pretext or the other. It is also accused of wiping all data including profile information from the app servers. The agency revealed that its investigation found that “multiple accounts (more…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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