Chinese betting apps: ED hunts for Rs 1,000 crore payout beneficiaries

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate has claimed that it is investigating major beneficiaries of the payouts from Paytm and HSBC Bank accounts of illegal betting transactions worth Rs 1,000 crore run by Chinese nationals using banned apps. The payment gateways were allegedly used for overseas transactions.
On Tuesday, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Hyderabad sent a Chinese national and two others to eight days of ED custody. The ED had arrested the Chinese national Yan Hao and two of his Indian associates (Dhiraj Sarkar and Ankit Kapoor) on September 15 in connection with its online betting and money laundering case.
“Investigation under PMLA to identify the major beneficiaries of the payouts from Paytm and HSBC Bank accounts is under progress. Summons have been issued to various persons, including the Chinese nationals who are the directors of the company,” the ED said on Tuesday.
The probe against these banned Chinese apps, illegally operating in India, revealed that related websites also ‘acted as payment aggregators for multiple apps which were banned by Google Play store for lax technical security, data theft or betting activities’.
“The accused were also planning to set up an NBFC for micro credits but their request for license was declined by regulatory authorities. The quantum of fraud may be more than Rs 1,000 crore. The custodial interrogation of the three accused is underway to unearth the entire scam,” ED said.
Chinese nationals floated two companies, Dokypay Technology and Linkyun Technology, in an online betting scam. These companies were behind a large number of websites which attract gullible persons to become members and to place bets on various online apps which promised attractive rewards on simple games of chance.
“Paytm and Cashfree were used to collect money and pay commission to all these agent members. Hundreds of websites were created to promote online betting under the garb of e-commerce,” ED claimed. Earlier, the agency had conducted searches at 15 locations in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune which resulted in seizure of 17 hard disks, five laptops, phones and crucial incriminating documents. The ED has also frozen Rs 47 crore held in four accounts in HSBC Bank.

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