India busts e-Nuggets scam with help from Binance

India’s Enforcement Authority has seized around Rs 90 crores ($10.5 million) from an online scam app called E-Nuggets, in a crackdown involving major cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, ZebPay and WazirX.

Binance Helps India Fight E-Nuggets Scam

These exchanges helped identify and block the crypto wallet accounts linked to the scam.

According to The Hindu, E-Nuggets has $10 million worth of cryptocurrencies stored in 70 different crypto wallet accounts on these exchanges. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) took action by directing the exchanges to freeze the affected wallet addresses and transfer the assets to the agency’s own wallet.

The E-Nuggets app is said to have attracted customers with promises of high returns on investment and masquerading as a gaming platform. It offered several real money games with high commissions, requiring users to wager money. However, once the investments were made, the app ceased operations, effectively trapping the investors’ money.

The investigation into the E-Nuggets app began in 2022 when suspicious digital asset transactions were noticed. This led to the uncovering of around 2,500 fake bank accounts and the seizure of assets worth over Rs 163 crores ($19.5 million), including cash, cryptocurrencies, account balances and office properties.

Aamir Khan, identified as the mastermind behind the scam, and his accomplice Romen Agarwal, have been arrested and are currently in custody. The use of digital assets in the scam allowed authorities to effectively trace and secure the illicit funds.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is preparing to re-enter the Indian market after agreeing to pay a $2 million fine.

The fine addresses compliance issues that led to Binance’s removal from the Apple Store in India earlier this year, following warnings from India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The notices, which were also sent to other major exchanges such as OKX, KuCoin and Huobi, were part of a broader crackdown on crypto exchanges that operate without full compliance with local regulations.

Following the fine, Binance plans to re-establish itself as an FIU-registered entity, fully compliant with Indian regulations, including anti-money laundering and tax laws.