The Enforcement Directorate in India seized assets of a businessman worth around US$4.9 million in a money laundering case involving a crypto scam, according to a press release on Monday. 

Fast facts

  • Nishad K and his associates allegedly perpetrated a crypto scam in which some 900 investors were cheated out of approximately US$162.4 million. The ED launched an investigation into the scam after Kerala police registered multiple reports from investors affected by the scam.  
  • The accused and his accomplices had collected money from investors under the pretext of an Initial Coin Offering of a non-existent cryptocurrency called Morris Coin, the ED press release said. 
  • The money collected from investors was used to purchase cryptocurrencies, immovable properties, cars, and luxury hotel and resort stays. 
  • The ED also seized cryptocurrencies purchased with the proceeds from the crime including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Binance Coin, Cardano, among others. 
  • Crypto scams are on the rise across the world. According to Chainalysis data, crypto crimes hit a new all-time high with illicit addresses receiving US$14 billion last year — increasing 79% from US$7.8 billion in 2020. 
  • India currently does not have a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Legislation is expected to be floated in the next parliamentary session.