₹100 crore fraud: Hawala operators under ED scanner | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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100 crore fraud: Hawala operators under ED scanner

Apr 17, 2024 08:44 AM IST

ED investigates hawala operators dealing in cryptocurrencies linked to a ₹100-crore fraud case involving a Dubai businessman

MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken a few hawala operators specialising in crypto-currencies under its scanner as part of its money-laundering probe against a Dubai-based businessman and others who are accused of 100-crore fraud that involves the use of dubious financial schemes and forex trading to lure investors.

The agency will question such hawala traders to record their statements under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
The agency will question such hawala traders to record their statements under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

The agency will question such hawala traders to record their statements under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), sources said. The hawala traders under the scanner were allegedly used by the case’s accused persons to remit the proceeds of crime to Dubai, in exchange for cryptocurrency such as USDT, the source said. The accused persons had allegedly taken the hawala route to bypass regulatory scrutiny and launder the proceeds of crime, the source said.

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The agency commenced its probe based on a case registered by the Bharti Vidyapeeth police station of the Pune police, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against the Dubai-based business-man Vinod Khute and four others for allegedly duping several investors via a criminal conspiracy to cheat gullible individuals into Ponzi schemes and forex trading by luring them with the promise of high returns, agency sources said. Through these schemes, the accused had allegedly gathered investments worth 100 crore in the form of deposits in the bank accounts of shell firms and bogus entities to mask the illicit nature of such transactions, the sources said.

The collected funds were later allegedly transferred out of India to Dubai through several hawala operators, the sources said. The agency has accused Khute of utilizing the proceeds of crime, estimated to be over 100 crore by the agency, for his personal usage, for the running of daily affairs of his firms and acquiring assets in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and India.

The agency’s probe has revealed that Khute operates various illegal trades including those related to crypto exchange, wallet services and forex trading through a Dubai-based firm, Kana Capital Limited and has set up multiple companies to carry out illicit financial works. ED has so far made provisional attachments of assets worth 70.89 crore.

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