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HomeLaw & PoliticsDelhi Businessman Arrested in $216 Million Crypto Money Laundering Case

Delhi Businessman Arrested in $216 Million Crypto Money Laundering Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Manideep Mago, a Delhi-based businessman, on charges of money laundering related to cryptocurrency transactions.

Mago is accused of selling cryptocurrencies worth over ₹1,800 crore (approximately $216 million) through his company. He was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is currently in ED custody. Mago was arrested and produced before a special court in Delhi on Tuesday, with the court ordering his custody until June 23. The operations and legal proceedings are taking place in Delhi, India, involving domestic and international financial activities.

The ED initiated an investigation following allegations that Mago’s company was involved in significant cryptocurrency transactions and foreign outward remittances amounting to over ₹3,500 crore ($420 million). The investigation revealed that these remittances were linked to a global ‘hawala’ syndicate operating out of Delhi, which facilitated illegal financial transfers abroad under the guise of bogus invoices for services like crypto mining and educational software. Additionally, cash deposits worth more than ₹1,300 crore ($156 million) were reportedly made into the bank accounts of entities related to Mago’s company. The ED’s searches uncovered the use of forged invoices and collusion with chartered accountants and bank officials to justify these transactions.

The case has broader implications as it involves the use of cryptocurrencies in an international money laundering syndicate. The syndicate reportedly incorporated companies in Hong Kong and Canada to facilitate their operations, which included illegal crypto mining and arbitrage trading. The ED’s investigation has also led to cooperation with the Delhi Police, which has filed its own FIR against Mago and his associates. This complex case highlights the challenges regulatory and enforcement agencies face in tracking and prosecuting financial crimes in the digital age, especially with the involvement of cryptocurrencies and international networks.

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