The Enforcement Directorate, or ED, has raided the premises of Indian crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber, a report said quoting an official at the Bangalore cell of the central agency. The official added that searches were being conducted in five premises of the cryptocurrency firm in connection with the country’s Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
“We are looking into multiple possible contraventions under FEMA and other entities that are connected to it,” the official was quoted as saying by Coindesk, who reported the news. “Since we did not receive the desired cooperation we have conducted searches on (residences) of directors, the CEO and the official premises” of the exchange.
When asked for details regarding the search, a CoinSwitch spokesperson told News18.com, “We receive queries from various government agencies. Our approach has always been that of transparency. Crypto is an early stage industry with a lot of potential and we continuously engage with all stakeholders.”
Earlier in July, top executives of CoinSwitch, including Chief Business Officer Sharan Nair and the company’s Chief Financial Officer and senior executive Krishna Hegde left the company saying that they wanted to start their own ventures.
“We are super passionate about crypto and we believe it is here to stay. We will continue to take guidance from CoinSwitch team, which has been my home turf for the last four-plus years as we build India into the Web3 hub of the world,” Nair was quoted as saying by Business Today.
The ED’s raid comes weeks after the central agency raided the offices of Zanmai Labs, the operating agency of India’s largest crypto exchange WazirX. The central agency had on August 5 conducted searches on the premises of one of the Directors of Zanmai Lab Pvt Ltd and issued an order to freeze their bank balances to the tune of Rs 64.67 crore. This action led the ED to 10 crypto exchanges in the country. Its probe against the crypto exchange was linked to its ongoing investigation against a number of Chinese loan apps (mobile applications) working in India.
As many as 10 crypto exchanges are under the ED radar for their alleged involvement in money laundering of around Rs 10 billion.The agency recently froze crypto lending platform Vauld’s bank assets worth Rs 370 crore over its “predatory lending practices”. The ED conducted searches at various premises of Yellow Tune Technologies Pvt Ltd in Bengaluru, and froze assets belonging to Flipvolt crypto exchange which runs the Darshan Bathija-led Vauld.
The ED is conducting money laundering investigation against many Indian NBFC companies and their fintech partners for predatory lending practices.