In a two-year-old gambling app fraud case, India’s top financial crime investigation agency has frozen 85.9 bitcoins, equivalent to $1.6 million, in an account on Binance. Separately, he has also frozen WRX, WazirX’s native coin, and USDT together, worth approximately $550,000.
Earlier this month, the agency raided several places in Kolkata in this case and recovered the Indian currency with the equivalent of $2.2 million. The accused in this $8.5 million fraud is 25-year-old Aamir Khan.
E-Nuggets, which mainly ran during the Covid-19 lockdown, offered various games and app wallet service for participants to deposit their money and earn attractive incentives.
“Aamir Khan… has launched a mobile gaming app which is E-Nuggets which is designed to deceive the audience. Moreover, after collecting a large amount of money from the audience, all sudden withdrawals from the aforementioned app have been stopped with one pretext or another,” the ED reported in her statement.
The investigating authority added that the accused deleted all data and profile information from the application’s servers.
The investigative agency, when providing details of the crypto-option the defendant chose to hide the funds, said that Khan had opened a fake WazirX account, purchased crypto assets and transferred them to Binance.
“The balance of the mentioned transferred cryptocurrencies, i.e. 77.62710139 Bitcoin [equivalent to USD 1573466 (Rs 12.83 Crore approximately)] The ED said that the crypto exchange Binance has been frozen.
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Initially, the Federal Bank, a nationally commercial bank, filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Park Street Police Station in Kolkata on February 15, 2022. The bank complained about suspected money laundering activities linked to the Amir Khan gaming app. But the local police were said to have not taken an interest in the case.
The Directorate of Enforcement began its investigation on the instructions of the Federal Ministry of Finance, which reportedly received alerts about the fraud and its possible links to money laundering.
Aamir Khan could not have been arrested by the emergency department on 10 September when he conducted the search, but was finally arrested on 25 September. The Kolkata Police have also suspended the detective, who was charged with a slow investigation, after conducting an ED.
Amid heightened regulatory scrutiny, ED has been hot on the heels of fintech companies, cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto scammers over the past few months.
Last month, CryptoPotato reported that the agency was investigating 10 private companies on suspicion of laundering more than $125 million. ED has been tracking WazirX, Vauld, and CoinDCX for the past month or so.
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The ED message appeared in India after 1.6 million BTC was frozen over a first-time gambling app accusation on CryptoPotato.