Major action by ED in app-based money laundering case; freezes funds in HPZ app-based token fraud
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it has frozen Rs.29.5 crore kept in bank and demat accounts after it carried out raids in multiple cities in a money laundering case linked to cheating of investors through a mobile phone-based application. The action was taken against an app-based token named “HPZ” and some similar entities. The agency said that searches were conducted in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Salem.
The anti-money laundering agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also conducted searches in the case last year and had frozen deposits worth around Rs.56 crore. Funds of Rs.29.5 crore have been frozen under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the same was detected and found to be lying in various bank accounts or demat accounts, the agency said in a statement.
The money laundering case stems from an October 2021 FIR filed against the company and its linked persons by the cybercrime unit of the Kohima Police in Nagaland. “HPZ was an app-based token which promised users of high returns against ‘investment’ in mining machines for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” the agency said.
The ED said two entities — Lillian Technocab Private Limited and Shigoo Technology Private Limited — were involved in the operation and collection of money from investors in the name of the “HPZ” token.
The probe agency said a person identified as Bhupesh Arora along with some others “had control over Shigoo Technology Private Limited and he was indulged in operating unregistered gaming apps/ website in this company and various other entities”.
“He was collecting money fraudulently from the gullible public in the garb of these apps/ websites,” said ED. Searches were also conducted, the ED said, on an entity based in Chennai and related persons involved in laundering the proceeds of crime in crypto assets.
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It would be very enlightening to know the total quantum of amounts frozen and attachments since 2014.