India: Directorate of Enforcement Freezes Crypto-Assets, as Part of Investigation Involving Gaming App

Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in India has reportedly frozen the cryptocurrencies WRX (utility token of WazirX) and USDT (Tether, an Ethereum token that is pegged to the value of a U.S. dollar) equivalent to Rs 47.64 Lakhs (appr. $58,000) “under the provisions ofthe Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, in respect to an investigation being conducted against one Aamir Khan and others relating to the Mobile Gaming Application, namely E-nuggets.”

ED initiated the money laundering investigation “on the basis of FIR dated 15.02.2021 filed under various sections of IPC by Park Street Police Station, Kolkata Police, against Aamir Khan & others, based on complaint filed by Federal Bank authorities, in the court of Learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Calcutta.”

Aamir Khan, S/o Nesar Ahmed Khan “launched a mobile gaming application namely E-Nuggets, which was designed for the purpose of defrauding public.” Further, after collecting a substantial amount from the public, “all of [a] sudden, the withdrawal from the said App, was stopped, on the pretext of one and other excuses.” Thereafter, all data “including profile information was wiped off from the said App servers.”

The ED investigation revealed that the accused was “transferring the amount earned through the gaming app (E-nuggets) by using a cryptocurrency exchange.” The amount equivalent to Rs 47.64 Lakh was reportedly “found in the wallet of WazirX (Crypto Exchange) belonging to Aamir khan and its associates and the same has been frozen under PMLA.”

Earlier during the search operation conducted against said Amir Khan:

  • Rs 17.32 Crore Cash was found and seized from the residential premises
  • 85.91870554 Bitcoins equivalent to USD 1674255.7 (equivalent to Rs13.56 Cr approx. as per market exchange rate) found in balance in Binance Exchange was frozen.

Further investigation into this matter is currently “under progress.”

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