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$11M Seized from Top British-Indian Businessman in Multi-Million Dollar Bitcoin Scam

India’s law enforcement authorities confiscated properties worth $11m owned by businessman Raj Kundra as part of an investigation related to an alleged Bitcoin scam.

Under the stipulations outlined in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday declared its temporary seizure of both real estate and personal assets Kundra owns.

The ED’s measures are part of its inquiry into alleged money laundering endeavors associated with Kundra. He is Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty’s husband.

In the statement, the authority said it launched an investigation based on numerous First Information Reports (FIRs). These reports targeted M/s Variable Tech Pte Ltd, as well as individuals including Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj, and a collection of marketing agents.

ED, Mumbai has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties worth Rs. 97.79 Crore belonging to Ripu Sudan Kundra aka Raj Kundra under the provisions of PMLA, 2002. The attached properties include Residential flat situated in Juhu presently in the name of Smt. Shilpa…

— ED (@dir_ed) April 18, 2024

Ponzi Scheme Promoters Accused of Hiding Millions

According to the investigation, the accused amassed Bitcoin worth about $792m in 2017 by misleading investors with assurances of 10% monthly returns through Bitcoin investments. The promoters allegedly defrauded investors and have since concealed the illicitly obtained Bitcoin in obscure online wallets.

During investigation, the agency discovered Kundra had received 285 Bitcoin from Amit Bhardwaj, the orchestrator of the ‘Gain Bitcoin’ Ponzi scheme. These Bitcoin were intended for the establishment of a mining operation in Ukraine. These coins were reportedly derived from illicit gains acquired by Amit Bhardwaj from unsuspecting investors.

However, the transaction did not come to fruition. This left Kundra in possession of the Bitcoins, which are currently valued at over $18m.

Kundra didn’t return Cryptonews’ request for comment by press time.

Bitcoin Scam Promised Returns, Delivered Lies

“The collected Bitcoins were supposed to be utilized for Bitcoin mining and investors were supposed to get huge returns in crypto assets. But the promoters cheated the investors and have been concealing the ill-gotten Bitcoins in obscure online wallets,” the statement read.

The ED has previously taken action on the same case. Nikhil Mahajan was arrested in January last year, while Simpy Bhardwaj and Nitin Gaur were arrested in Dec. All of them are currently in judicial custody. However, the primary suspects, Ajay Bhardwaj and Mahendra Bhardwaj, are still evading law enforcement.

In 2021, Kundra was arrested for involvement in producing and distributing pornographic content via the ‘Hotshots’ app. He obtained bail from the Supreme Court in that case.

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