Assets worth ₹36.72 crore seized in cryptocurrency scam

People lured into investing in non-existent cryptocurrency

January 11, 2022 02:15 am | Updated 02:15 am IST - KOCHI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets valued at ₹36.72 crore in connection with an alleged scam in which investors were duped of crores or rupees by luring them into investing in a non-existent cryptocurrency, Morris Coin.

The assets of one Nishad K. and his associates were attached in the case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED said in a statement. The attached assets include money in multiple bank accounts of Nishad and his companies, immovable property, including the land of an associate close to Nishad and money in rupees equivalent of cryptocurrencies purchased out of the proceeds of crime by the close associate.

FIR by police

The ED had initiated the probe based on an FIR registered by the Kerala Police under the Indian Penal Code. The police have registered multiple FIRs in various districts. According to the police, more than 900 investors were cheated to the tune of ₹1,200 crore.

The money was used to purchase immovable properties, various other cryptocurrencies, luxury cars, and to stay in premium hotels and resorts.

“In this regard, cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, BTC, BNB, YFI, VET, ADA, and USDT, valued at ₹25,82,794, and maintained at Indian and international crypto exchanges, were found. They were purchased out of the proceeds of crime. During investigation, all the above cryptocurrencies, purchased out of the proceeds of crime, were converted into Indian Rupee and transferred to the bank account by the coins’ owner, which were attached,” the statement said.

Nishad via his companies such as M/s Long Rich Global, M/s Long Rich Technologies, and M/s Morris Trading Solutions allegedly collected money from investors in the guise of an Initial Coin Offer for the launch of Morris Coin.

“By conducting promotional events in the presence of celebrities, introducing investors to flashy websites and by the provision of e-wallets to each investor, the amount was collected from investors and siphoned via companies operated by him,” the statement said.

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