The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reportedly conducted raids against Chinese-controlled loan apps and investment tokens and frozen funds worth Rs. 46.67 crore kept in payment gateways such as Easebuzz, Razorpay, Cashfree and Paytm. The federal agency is said to have frozen accounts under the anti-money laundering law. Searches were carried out on Wednesday at several premises of the accused in Delhi, Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Gaya, as per a report. Around Rs. 33.36 crore was reportedly found with Easebuzz in Pune, while Rs. 8.21 crore was detected from Razorpay in Bangalore.
According to a PTI report, ED had conducted raids at premises of online payment gateways including Easebuzz, Razorpay, Cashfree and Paytm earlier this week as part of an ongoing investigation on Chinese-controlled firms and investment tokens. The central agency has seized Rs. 46.67 crore worth of funds kept in various bank accounts and virtual accounts.
The raids were conducted under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. As per the report, the case was registered by the cybercrime unit of Kohima Police in Nagaland in October 2021.
On Wednesday, searches were reportedly conducted at multiple premises of the accused in Delhi, Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, and Gaya. Sixteen premises of banks and payment gateways in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bengaluru were searched with respect to an investigation related to an app-based token named HPZ and other entities, mentioned the report citing a statement by ED.
The ED reportedly recovered various incriminating documents during the search operation. Funds were found to be kept in the virtual accounts of the involved entities with payment aggregators. A total of Rs. 33.36 crore was found with Easebuzz in Pune, while Rs. 8.21 crore was seized from Razorpay in Bangalore. The ED found Rs. 1.28 crore with Cashfree Payments in Bangalore and Rs. 1.11 crore with Paytm in New Delhi.
Paytm denied the report saying that the ED had instructed the company to freeze certain amounts from MIDs of specific merchant entities. In a tweet, the company stated that none of the funds frozen by the central agency belongs to it or any of its group firms.
Easebuzz and Cashfree Payments also dismissed the reports. "We would like to clarify that none of the parties mentioned in the ED's statement belonged to our merchant base. The mentioned entities by authorities were only the counterparties of the merchant, who was using our payment gateway and this merchant had been proactively identified and blocked by us much before the investigation had started, as per our internal risk and compliance process. We intend to fully co-operate with the investigation authorities, as we are committed to ensure that our business operations comply with the existing regulations," an Easebuzz spokesperson said in a statement.
“We continue to extend our diligent co-operation to the ED operations. We were able to provide the required and necessary information within a few hours on the day of enquiry. The operations and on-boarding processes of Cashfree Payments are fully compliant with existing regulations”, a Cashfree Payments spokesperson told Gadgets 360.
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