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ED freezes Rs 123-cr of Singapore-based shell firms parked in bank accounts of Mumbai-based NIUM India

New Delhi: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has frozen Rs 123 crore, belonging to Singapore-based shell entities, parked in bank accounts of Mumbai-based NIUM Indian Pvt Ltd as part of its probe into a money laundering case of illegal online loans, gambling, and betting apps through a cluster of mule accounts in Kerala.
The amount was frozen following searches conducted last week at 10 locations in Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi at the premises of NIUM India Pvt Ltd and its directors based in Mumbai, Xoduz Solution Pvt Ltd, Vikrah Trading Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Tyrannus Technology Pvt Ltd, Future Vision Media Solutions Pvt Ltd, Aprikiwi Solution Pvt Ltd in Chennai and Raphael James Rozario, Kochi, to trace and unearth the proceeds of crime in the case.
As per the ED, the Rs 123 crore amount frozen by the agency is suspected to be proceeds of crime, belonging to shell entities of Singapore and parked in the bank accounts of NIUM Indian Pvt. Ltd on their behalf.
In the operations, the ED also recovered and seized several digital devices, various incriminating documents, multiple bank accounts used for laundering, and details of various movable and immovable assets of the accused person and entities.
ED initiated the investigation based on the FIR registered by Kerala Police and Haryana Police on the complaints given by various persons for their exploitation and cheating through online platforms such as loan, gambling, and betting apps being controlled by Chinese entities.
ED investigation revealed that proceeds of crime generated from the apps and other platforms, are aggregated and laundered through mule accounts opened in various banks in Kerala using payment aggregators.
"The funds collected, layered through multiple shell companies in Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, and were finally being remitted outside India through various channels such as Crypto Currency, against fake imports of software from Singapore and Forex currency purchases," said the agency in a statement.
ED investigation revealed that the accused floated many shell entities in India and used the same to send proceeds of crime to shell companies floated in Singapore.
"These Singapore shell entities would raise fake invoices for supply of software and other services in the name of the shell Indian entities in India where the proceeds of crime would have already been aggregated. These invoices are shared by global forex settlement platform named NIUM Singapore Pte Ltd (Singapore) who has Indian subsidiary Company namely NIUM India Pvt Ltd to collect the money from Indian entities based on fake invoices and transfer the same as outward remittance to NIUM Singapore Pte Ltd in the name of payment for technical services and such funds will be credited such funds in virtual wallet of Singapore Shell entities."
Except the fake invoice, the ED said, no other documentation was collected by NIUM India Pvt Ltd from the remitters.
"In this manner, the shell remitter, the shell remittee and the sham import transactions were concealed from the Bank and monitoring agencies and the proceeds of crime are thereby laundered out of India," said the ED.

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