The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has frozen ₹123 crore suspected to be of Singapore-based shell companies and stashed in bank accounts of Mumbai-based NIUM India Private Ltd , treating it as laundered money from illegal online loans, gambling and betting apps controlled by Chinese entities.

The agency’s action under the prevention of money laundering Act was prompted by information received during searches carried out 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.

Financial investigation

The sleuths seized several digital devices, incriminating documents, multiple bank accounts used for laundering money and details of various movable and immovable assets of the accused person and entities, the ED said.

On the basis of FIRs registered by Kerala police and Haryana police, the ED began probe and realised money generated through apps and virtual platforms were 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,” read the ED statement.

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According to the ED, the accused floated many shell entities in India for allegedly wiring proceeds of crime to front entities 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,” the agency elaborated

But for the fake invoice, the ED charged, NIUM India Pvt Ltd did not collect any other document 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,” the ED probe revealed.