App loan case: ED action against Chinese entities, payment gateways

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said that it has carried out searches and seized Rs 9.82 crore of a few Chinese-controlled entities as part of a probe into the loan-based app scam under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

According to sources, the accounts belong to Comein Network Technology Private Limited, Mobicred Technology Private Limited, Magic Data Technology Private Limited, Baitu Technology Private Limited, Aliyeye Network Technology India Pvt Ltd, Wecash Technology Private Limited, Larting Private Limited, Magic Bird Technology Private Limited and Acepearl Services Private Limited.

A senior ED official said that the action was taken in respect of an investigation relating to the misuse of App-based token named ‘HPZ’ and other similar applications by several entities.

The ED initiated the money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR filed under various sections of IPC by the Cyber Crime police station in Kohima against HPZ token and others.

“The HPZ token was an ‘App-based token’, which promised the users of large gains against investments by declaring the same as ‘investing in mining machines for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’. The modus-operandi of the fraudsters was to first lure the victims to invest in their companies on the pretext of doubling / multiplying their investments through the app HPZ Token and other similar applications,” said the official.

The ED learnt in the investigation that various Chinese controlled entities, viz. Comein Network Technology Private Limited and others, in service agreements with various NBFCs were also operating multiple suspicious loan Apps (such as Cashhome, Cashmart, easyloan, etc.) and indulged in receiving funds from the public on the pretext of operating these apps.

Earlier, it had freezed Bank/Virtual account balances amounting to Rs 46.67 crore during the searches conducted on September 14.

With the present freezing, total freezing in this case stands at Rs 56.49 crore.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

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