In a massive crackdown against the Chinese loan app companies, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday seized Rs 17 crore worth of funds kept in merchant IDs and bank accounts of Chinese persons-controlled entities.
The seizure was made as ED carried out searches at six locations in Karnataka’s Bengaluru, including the premises of Paytm, Cashfree, and Razorpay, officials said.
The financial probe agency said that it carried out searches under the section of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 on September 2. These were in regard to an investigation relating to the Chinese Loan App Case.
The case is based on 18 FIRs registered by Cyber Crime Police Station, Bengaluru City against numerous entities/persons in connection with their involvement in extortion and harassment of the public who had availed small loans through the mobile apps being run by those entities or persons.
The ED said that during inquiries, it emerged that these entities are controlled or operated by Chinese persons.
Explaining the modus operandi of these entities, the ED said that they used forged documents of Indians and made them as dummy directors of those entities and generated proceeds of crime.
“It came to notice that the said entities were doing their suspected/illegal business through various Merchant IDs/Accounts held with Payment Gateways/banks,” the financial probe agency said.
The ED said that during searches, it was also noticed that the said entities were generating proceeds of crime through various Merchant IDs/Accounts held with Payment Gateways or banks and they were not operating from the addresses given on the MCA website or registered address and had fake addresses.
Earlier this year, the ED also launched a probe against Chinese phonemaker Vivo in connection with a money laundering case.
In its affidavit in Delhi High Court, the ED had alleged that the money laundering case against Vivo India was not a case of mere commission of an economic offence but has been carried out as an attempt to destabilise the financial system of the country and threaten the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.