ED attaches assets of Mumbai-based recruitment firm for duping 900 nurses bound for Kuwait

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New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday said it has attached assets worth over Rs 7.5 crore of a Mumbai-based global recruitment firm and its promoters in a money laundering case linked to alleged cheating of 900 Kuwait-bound nurses.

The central agency said it has issued a provisional order for attaching a duplex flat in Mumbai's JVPD scheme area, a plot of land in Kerala and a Mercedes Benz car apart from Rs 4.55 crore in cash of P J Mathew and others.

The action has been taken under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In a statement, the ED said its has attached assets worth Rs 7.51 crore belonging to Mathew, the proprietor of the Mumbai-based global recruitment firm Mathew International, and some people linked to him, including Celine Mathew and Thomas Mathew.

The PMLA case was filed after studying a CBI FIR registered against Mathew and Mohammed Naina Prabhu, the promoter of Mumbai-based firm Munavvara Associates.

Mathew was also under the scanner of the Income Tax Department which had seized Rs 4.55 crore cash from his premises in April-May 2015.

The ED claimed its probe found that 'P J Mathew with the help of others recruited more than 900 nurses who were to be employed in Kuwait by charging exorbitant service charge ranging from Rs 18.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh from each of the applicants.' 'This service charge was in excess to the stipulated charges of Rs 20,000,' it said.

Mathew International 'illegally and dishonestly' collected approximately Rs 205.71 crore from the emigrants through the criminal activity, it claimed.

It said the amount collected from the nursing emigrants was sent to Kuwait by way of hawala transfer with the 'help of' Mohammad Aslam of Ideal Forex (P) based in Ernakulam.

The agency had raided his shop in December 2018 and seized Indian and foreign currencies worth over Rs 30 lakh. PTI NES SMN SMN