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HomeLaw & PoliticsED Probes Raj Kundra in $800 Million Crypto Ponzi Scheme

ED Probes Raj Kundra in $800 Million Crypto Ponzi Scheme

April 18, 2024 — The Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India is currently investigating businessman Raj Kundra, who is married to Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, in connection with a money laundering case. This case is tied to the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme known as ‘Gain Bitcoin.’ It is important to note that Kundra is not the primary suspect in this investigation.

Raj Kundra, a well-known businessman, along with other entities, is under scrutiny by the ED for possible links to the fraudulent scheme initiated by Ajay Bhardwaj and his brother Mahendra Bhardwaj in 2017.

The ‘Gain Bitcoin’ scheme promised investors a 10% monthly return, payable in Bitcoin, and rapidly accumulated about $800 million. As the scheme unraveled, the funds were converted to Bitcoin and hidden in anonymous digital wallets. During this process, Kundra allegedly received 285 Bitcoins, now valued at over $18 million, intended for a Bitcoin mining project in Ukraine that was never realized.

The investigation into this scheme has been ongoing, with the ED recently seizing assets connected to Kundra and Shetty, including a Mumbai flat valued at approximately $12 million. This action is part of broader efforts to clamp down on cryptocurrency-related frauds in India.

The investigation and the implicated assets are primarily located in Mumbai, India. However, the scheme had a broader reach, impacting numerous investors who were drawn in by the promise of high returns on their investments in cryptocurrency.

The ED’s involvement highlights the growing concern over illicit activities associated with cryptocurrencies in India, which has seen a spate of similar scams. The authorities are intensifying their efforts to combat these frauds, as evidenced by recent legal actions against hundreds of entities under stringent anti-money laundering laws.

The ongoing probe has involved detailed scrutiny of financial transactions and assets related to those implicated in the ‘Gain Bitcoin’ scheme. Kundra and Shetty have publicly denied any wrongdoing, stating confidence in being cleared of all charges once the investigation concludes.

This case is part of a larger pattern of cryptocurrency scams in India, which have evolved to include schemes where fraudsters pose as job recruiters to deceive unsuspecting job seekers, further complicating the landscape of digital currency fraud in the country.

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