New Delhi, Sept 21: The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 42.88 crore in connection with the bitcoin scam involving 'cryptocurrency guru' Amit Bhardwaj. The seizures include properties under the banner of Variabletech Private Ltd, a company owned by Bhardwaj and his accomplices.
Apart from the properties, ED has also frozen and seized bank accounts linked to Variabletech. As per the ED's investigation, the company was floated by Bhardwaj in Singapore in 2015, and through its website - www.gainbitcoin.com - he launched the ponzi scheme.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) attaches assets worth Rs 42.88 crore in connection with Bitcoin Scam masterminded by Amit Bhardwaj and associates. pic.twitter.com/XA4dT1SP8kAlso Read | ED Conducts Searches at 11 Premises of Hawala Operator in New Delhi and Mumbai
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2018
Notably, Bhardwaj and his younger brother Vivek, and their two accomplices - Pankaj Adlakha and Hemant Bhope - are lodged in jail.
Bhardwaj was first arrested in Bangkok on March 31, and later extradited to India. Cases against him has been filed in various parts of the nation, prominently in Pune, Chandigarh and Delhi. He has been booked under IPC 406, 420, 34, 409, 120B, 109 and MPID Act 3 and 4, and IT Act, Section 66B. According to estimates, the total value of the bitcoin scam amounts to nearly $300 million.
Apart from Variabletech, three other companies are involved in the cryptocurrency scam. They are: Gain Bitcoin, GB Minors and GB 21 -- all owned by Bhardwaj. Duped investors claim that the "extravagant meetings" were organised by the three firms in 2016 in Dubai and Macau to lure investments. The ED is probing the funding of such meetings -- whether they were wholly sponsored on the ponzi collections or involved other financial sources.