Six online gaming companies remitted Rs 1,100 crore to China, Hong Kong: Report

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has zeroed in on nine bank accounts of six firms accused in the scam of remitting Rs 1,100 crore to foreign countries like China and Hong Kong, as first reported by the Times of India.

The financial crime watchdog has directed banks to freeze 1,815 accounts held with 67 different banks spread all over the country of various individuals and entities that conducted some unexplained transactions with the six accused firms. In a connected case, the ED is investigating the role of WazirX. The accused in a similar scam have reportedly used the WazirX platform to transfer crypto to Binance accounts.

Also read: Cops clamp down on a gambling racket in Pune

Though the ED probe team has identified three individuals responsible for floating non-existent firms to justify the huge foreign outward remittances, it could not trace their whereabouts as the addresses given turned out to be bogus. The money they remitted outside to meet the alleged expenses for paying cloud storage rent, was also part of their layered and suspicious transactions that concealed the real purpose.

ED’s Hyderabad office has been investigating the irregularities being perpetrated in the name of online gaming through certain digital apps. Its focus has been on the role played by two companies — Linkyun Technology Private Ltd and Dokypay Technology Private Ltd — in transferring Rs 1,100 crore earned through offering online gambling offerings amid Covid19 fuelled gaming boom.

Linkyun was incorporated as a subsidiary of a foreign company in 2018. Dokypay was incorporated in 2019. Both the companies have only foreigners as directors with one director – Ling Yang common in both the entities. Both the entities have the same address for the registered office as per publicly available data.

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The investigators found that six companies – Great Trans International, AsiaPacific Cargo, Radiant Spark Technology, Achiever Biz International, Connecting Worldwide, and Genex Shipping Private Limited played an instrumental role in this money laundering exercise. ED also raided the office of their common chartered accountant firm HAR and Associates. In the searches, the ED officials found that a huge amount of money was sent to Hong Kong-based accounts from these companies with CA certificates obtained by paying money.

ED could trace nine bank accounts belonging to these six companies to check the inward and outward journey of money in these accounts. It concluded that a large network of entry operator-type accounts was being used to launder money. “None of the monetary transactions found in these accounts conveys any economic rationale. The money was sent abroad through some select branches of SBI and in Mumbai. The beneficial owners of the nine bank accounts have been using bogus addresses and the business they projected was also found out to be bogus,” an ED official was quoted by Times of India.