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Business News/ News / India/  Raj Kundra linked to Bitcoin Ponzi scam: All you need to know about 6,600 crore investment fraud case

Raj Kundra linked to Bitcoin Ponzi scam: All you need to know about ₹6,600 crore investment fraud case

Raj Kundra, husband of Shilpa Shetty, faces an ED probe over money laundering linked to a Bitcoin Ponzi scam. Assets worth 98 crore are attached, including a bungalow in Pune. He allegedly received 285 Bitcoins from scam mastermind Amit Bhardwaj.

Actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband and businessman Raj Kundra.

Raj Kundra, businessman and Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty's husband, was back in the news on Thursday when the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached assets worth 98 crore, including a bungalow in Pune and equity shares, as a part of a money laundering investigation.

In July 2021, Raj Kundra had been arrested by the Mumbai Police after four women complained that they had been forced to shoot pornographic content after being promised an acting job in a web series. He was released from Arthur Road jail in September 2021.

However, Raj Kundra again came under the lens of federal agencies for siphoning off investor funds through Bitcoins.

Raj Kundra Bitcoin Ponzi Scam: What is the case?

The Bitcoin Ponzi scam came to the limelight after multiple FIRs had been filed by the Maharashtra and Delhi police highlighting the investors' plea after they had invested in the scheme called ‘Gain Bitcoin’ in 2017.

Promoters of the Ponzi scheme Gain Bitcoin, Ajay and Mahender Bhardwaj, had promised investors a 10 per cent return per month in the form of bitcoins.

The FIRs had been filed against a company called Variable Tech Pte Ltd. The promoters of this company Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, and Mahender Bhardwaj were also named in the FIRs.

According to the police complaint, these people had collected 6,600 crore in 2017 from their investors.

The investors were reportedly paid off initially from the investments that came in from the new ones. However, the payments stopped when the Bhardwaj group could not rope in new investors.

They bought Bitcoins with the remaining money and hid them in obscure online wallets. The Enforcement Directorate alleges that the promoters hid their ill-gotten Bitcoins from the investors, thereby cheating them of their promised 10 per cent.

Raj Kundra, according to the ED, received 285 Bitcoins from the mastermind and promoter of Gain Bitcoin Ponzi scam Amit Bhardwaj for setting up a Bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine.

Raj Kundra is still in possession of 285 Bitcoins which are presently valued at more than 150 crore, the ED said.

However, Raj Kundra is not the main accused in this case.

Raj Kundra Bitcoin Ponzi Scam: Details of assets seized

According to the official statement released by the investigative agency, the ED attached properties including a residential flat in Mumbai's Juhu area. This residential flat was under the name of Shilpa Shetty.

The ED also attached a bungalow in Pune registered under the name of Raj Kundra. The federal agency further attached equity shares of Raj Kundra during the money laundering investigation.

A provisional attachment order has been issued under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach these properties worth 97.79 crore, the ED said.

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