India’s ED probe Bollywood star in $800m crypto ponzi scheme

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India’s ED is investigating Raj Kundra in a $800m cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme, seizing belongings and linking him to a failed Bitcoin mining challenge.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing Raj Kundra, a distinguished businessman and husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, regarding a cash laundering case linked to a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme dubbed ‘Achieve Bitcoin.’ Notably, Kundra isn’t the principle suspect on this investigation.

Within the ongoing probe, the ED has confiscated belongings price roughly $12 million, together with a Mumbai flat owned by Shilpa Shetty.

Launched in 2017 by Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahendra Bhardwaj, ‘Achieve Bitcoin’ promised buyers a return of 10% per 30 days, payable in Bitcoin, and shortly amassed about $800 million.

The scheme initially operated by distributing returns to early buyers utilizing the funds from new members. Nevertheless, as recruiting new buyers grew to become difficult, the payouts stopped. The organizers then transformed the remaining funds into Bitcoins and hid them in nameless digital wallets.

Investigations have revealed that Kundra obtained 285 Bitcoins, now price over $18 million, from Amit Bhardwaj, the promoter behind the scheme. The tokens have been purportedly meant for a Bitcoin mining challenge in Ukraine that by no means materialized, and reviews counsel Kundra nonetheless holds them.

Kundra and Shetty have denied any hyperlinks to the scheme and stay assured they are going to be cleared of all prices as soon as the investigation is accomplished.

The emergence of the ‘Achieve Bitcoin’ rip-off coincides with elevated scrutiny by Indian regulators over illicit actions involving cryptocurrencies.

Final month, the Enforcement Directorate escalated its efforts by submitting a charge sheet towards 299 entities below India’s stringent anti-money laundering legal guidelines. The authorized motion was a response to a collection of frauds the place buyers have been misled by guarantees associated to crypto mining ventures.

Moreover, the panorama of cryptocurrency scams in India is evolving, with a brand new sample rising amongst fraudsters. Just lately, there was an increase in scams the place perpetrators pose as job recruiters. These malicious actors goal unsuspecting job seekers, providing them roles that purportedly contain dealings in cryptocurrencies or associated initiatives, solely to defraud them.

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