The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has carried out searches and frozen account balances of Rs 9.82 crore of nine Chinese-controlled entities with respect to an investigation relating to the misuse of an App-based token named “HPZ” and other similar applications by several entities under money laundering probe, the agency said on Thursday.

The action has been taken against the entities like Comein Network Technology Private Limited, Mobicred Technology Private Limited, Magic Data Technology Private Limited, Baitu Technology Private Limited, Aliyeye Network Technology India Pvt Ltd, Wecash Technology Private Limited, Larting Private Limited, Magic Bird Technology Private Limited and Acepearl Services Private Limited.

ED initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of the First Information Report (FIR) dated October 8, 2021, filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 by Cyber Crime Police Station, Kohima, Nagaland, against HPZ token and others.

The HPZ Token was an “App-Based Token”, which promised users of large gains against investment by declaring the same as “investing in mining machines for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies”, said the ED.

The modus-operandi of the fraudsters was to first lure the victims to invest in their companies on the pretext of doubling and multiplying their investment through the “app HPZ Token” and other similar applications.

The ED investigation has revealed that various Chinese-controlled entities viz. Comein Network Technology Private Limited and others, in service agreements with various NBFCs, were also operating multiple suspicious loan/other Apps (such as Cashhome, Cashmart, easy loan etc.) and indulged in receiving funds from the public on the pretext of operating these Apps.

ED had earlier frozen bank and virtual account balances amounting to Rs 46.67 crore during the searches conducted on September 14. With the present freezing, the total freezing, in this case, stands at Rs 56.49 crore.