Pune Police Book BitConnect’s Satish Kumbhani In Crypto Scam

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Probe launched after Pune-based lawyer alleged that he lost close to 220 Bitcoins worth INR 42 Cr through multiple crypto platforms

Satish Kumbhani was indicted by a US Court in February for ‘orchestrating’ a global crypto ponzi scheme worth $2.4 Bn

The complainant named six other persons, besides Kumbhani, in the FIR; no arrests have been made so far

The Pune Police on Tuesday (August 16) reportedly launched a probe in an alleged multi-crore cryptocurrency fraud and booked crypto platform BitConnect founder Satish Kumbhani in the matter.

The investigation comes after a Pune-based lawyer filed a first information report (FIR) at a local police station, alleging that he lost close to 220 Bitcoins worth INR 42 Cr through multiple crypto platforms. 

Naming Kumbhani and six others for the alleged fraud, the FIR stated that the complainant invested INR 49 Lakh in 54 Bitcoins in 2016 and was allegedly assured of 166 Bitcoins in return. The lawyer was allegedly also made to reinvest into various other Ponzi schemes between 2016 and June 2021. 

No arrests have so far been made in the case.

The probe comes nearly six months after a US Court indicted Kumbhani for ‘orchestrating’ a global crypto ponzi scheme worth $2.4 Bn. He was also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, price manipulation and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. 

Kumbhani duped people into investing in his fraudulent cryptocurrency platform, promising high returns. The 36-year old mastermind reportedly misled investors by touting BitConnect’s supposed proprietary software and then took money from new investors to pay earlier ones.

The development comes at a time when an increasing number of reports are emerging about crypto frauds. A report by cybersecurity company CloudSEK in June estimated that Indian victims have lost up to INR 1,000 Cr in various cryptocurrency scams so far.

According to Inc42 analysis, investors across the globe lost more than INR 72,000 Cr in 12 crypto scams that involved Indians or had Indian-origin founders.

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