The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has attached assets worth more than Rs 278 crore of various entities, including those with links to China, in a money-laundering probe over the alleged cheating of investors through mobile phone-based app “HPZ Token”.
The ED had earlier attached properties worth Rs 176.67 crore in the case.
An order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been issued to provisionally attach “proceeds of crime in the form of movable and immovable properties valued at Rs 278.71 crore belonging to various persons and shell (dummy) entities, including Chinese-linked shell entities, which were allegedly found to be involved in duping investors of hundreds of crores”, the central agency said in a statement.
The money-laundering case stems from an October 2021 FIR registered by the cyber crime police station in Nagaland’s Kohima on the charge of duping gullible investors, who were promised “astronomical” returns on investing money for the purpose of mining Bitcoins and other crypto currencies, it added.
The “HPZ Token” app was allegedly used for the purpose.
“Various bank accounts and merchant IDs were opened by various shell entities having dummy directors/proprietors only for the purpose of rotation/layering of proceeds of crime representing funds fraudulently received for illegal online gaming and betting and investment for Bitcoin mining.
“For an investment of Rs 57,000, returns of Rs 4,000 per day for three months were promised but money was paid only once and thereafter, fresh funds were sought,” the ED alleged.
So far, the total proceeds of crime restrained by the ED in the case stand at Rs 455.37 crore, the agency said.
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