The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday said it has conducted fresh searches against two companies and persons linked to them as part of a money laundering investigation against entities ‘owned’ by Chinese nationals that lent money through mobile phone apps and later harassed borrowers by accessing their personal details.
The raids were undertaken on Dec. 21 last year at 19 locations in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat against Shinebay Technology India Pvt., Mpurse Services Pvt. and others which were ‘owned and controlled’ by Chinese nationals, the agency said in a statement.
‘Fintech companies, NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) and payment aggregators/gateways in collaboration, owned and controlled by Chinese nationals, were providing online short-term instant loans through mobile apps (applications) and were charging exorbitant rate of interest on loans given to the needy people,’ the ED said.
They were, it said, also harassing customers by engaging in deceptive and unethical practices such as having unauthorised access to the borrower’s photo gallery and phone contact list, levying exploitative rate of interest and processing fee, resorting to systematic abuse and threatening in case of failure of repayment by the borrower, intentional leaking of borrowers data, circulating morphed photographs of the borrower to its contacts, sending fake legal notices, etc.
These companies have employed ‘dummy’ directors and subscribers in India to conduct business on behalf of the Chinese individuals and companies, it said.
‘Chinese nationals created a complex web of fintech companies and NBFCs in India with the help of professionals such as chartered accountants, lawyers, company secretaries and consultants, etc.,’ it said.
The money laundering case stems from police FIRs filed in Karnataka (Bengaluru police) and Telangana (Kazipet and Jangaon police).
Rs 1.30 crore in cash and ‘incriminating’ documents and digital records were seized during these searches, the ED said.
The agency, in June last year, had undertaken searches at half-a-dozen locations and seized bank and fixed deposits worth Rs 19.43 crore. PTI