Allegedly kept in touch with the alleged Ponzi scammer; bizman claims he came into contact with Amit Bhardwaj because of a poker league deal.
Businessman Raj Kundra, husband of actress Shilpa Shetty, appeared outside the Ballard Estate office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday to include his testimony in a money laundering investigation into a Rs 2,000 crore cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.
Around 8,000 investors are said to have lost around Rs.2,000 billion to the fraud – allegedly the largest in India with cryptocurrencies – which is reportedly operated as a multi-tier marketing program by Amit Bhardwaj, founder of the Bitcoin-based investment website GainBitcoin.
Bhardwaj, who allegedly fled the country after cheating on his investors for three years, was arrested by Pune police in April.
ED officials said Kundra’s name came up during the investigation and that he kept in touch with Bhardwaj. “We want to determine whether Kundra played a role in the fraud – as an investor or promoter or helped Bhardwaj mine bitcoins,” said an official.
Bhardwaj allegedly lured investors by claiming to have set up bitcoin mining operations in China and promised them a 10 percent return over 18 months. Allegedly, he also offered another option by saying he could facilitate bitcoin mining hardware for investors, which could then mine their bitcoins. He was also reportedly behind other Bitcoin companies like GBMiners, MCAP, and GB21. The ED has registered criminal proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Bhardwaj and eight other people. The allegedly defrauded are from Mumbai, Pune, Nanded, Kolhapur and other places in the state.
When Kundra left the ED office late at night, she claimed that he was not involved in the scam. “I was called as a witness. A request is pending and I am cooperating. Amit Bhardwaj is a friend. ”
He said Bhardwaj contacted him to buy a team in the Indian Poker League, a company run by Kundra. “Even after the contract was signed, he made no payment. So we had to cancel the contract. ”
Last year, the finance minister informed parliament that there is no regulation for virtual currencies in India and that RBI has not granted any company / company a license to operate such currencies. The government had also warned investors to be careful with virtual currencies like Bitcoin, as they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender or protection.