ED raids 25 locations against foreign-registered online gaming portals
In a statement, it said that Rs 19.55 lakh more than $ 22,600 in cash were seized apart from freezing 55 bank accounts during this operation carried out under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The federal probe agency said the raids led to the finding that these online gaming companies websites were registered in small islcountries like Curacao, Malta Cyprus.
“Remittances out of the income from racing/riding etc., or any other hobby are not allowed under the provisions of FEMA, 1999,” it said.
The ED said it found that “hundreds of companies were opened by the key persons in the name of their employees for layering sending remittances to the tune of about Rs 4,000 crore in the guise of payments for import of goods services”.
Some key persons were found using international virtual mobile numbers for instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal etc. using pseudo-names such as Pablo, John, Watson etc. for “masking” their actual identity, it said.
The agency seized two such remotely accessed laptops from the premises of an entity providing server services located far away from the actual operational places.
It said “incriminating” documents electronic devices “establishing” foreign outward remittances of thousands of crores collected from the public through gaming websites using accounts of dummy firms opened in the name of proxy persons who are not linked with the gaming activities, Rs 19.55 lakh cash, $2,695 (about Rs 2.2 lakh as per current exchange rate) 55 bank accounts of firms being used for “layering remitting” income generated from online gaming in the guise of remittances against import of goods services have been freezed.