BENGALURU: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Friday carried out search operations at the premises of online payment gateways - Razorpay Pvt Ltd, Cashfree Payments, Paytm Payment Services Ltd and entities controlled/operated by Chinese nationals in Bengaluru under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
“The searches conducted at six premises related to the Chinese loan app case led to the seizure of Rs 17 crore in merchant IDs and bank accounts of entities controlled by Chinese nationals,” the ED stated in a media release on Saturday.
During the search operations, the central law enforcement agency noticed that the “Said entities were generating proceeds of crime through various merchant IDs/accounts held with payment gateways/banks. They are operating from fake addresses and not the ones given on the MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) website/registered address,” the ED stated.
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The agency added that the PMLA case is based on 18 FIRs registered by the cybercrime station, Bengaluru against numerous entities/persons in connection with their involvement in extortion and harassment of the public who had availed small amounts of loans through the mobile apps being run by these entities/persons.
“During the inquiry, it has emerged that these entities are controlled/operated by Chinese nationals. They make dummy IDs of Indians using forged documents and generate proceeds of crime. The said entities were doing their suspected/illegal business through various merchant IDs/accounts held with payment gateways/banks,” the ED added.
Meanwhile, a Paytm spokesperson said, “We are supporting law enforcement agencies, who are investigating a specific set of merchants. The authorities reached out to us with directions to provide certain information about these merchants under scrutiny, to which we promptly responded. We continue to cooperate with the authorities and remain fully compliant.”