New Delhi: Nearly Rs 936 crore related to crypto currency has been attached or seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under PMLA, Union Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary said on Monday.
Besides, five persons have been arrested and six prosecution complaints (PCs) including one supplementary PC have been filed before the Special Court, PMLA in these cases, he stsated. Chaudhary in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Monday said that crypto assets are by definition borderless and require international collaboration to prevent regulatory arbitrage.
Under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), assets amounting to Rs 289.28 crore have been seized under section 37A of FEMA and one show-cause notice to crypto currency exchange Zanmai Labs Pvt Ltd, known as WazirX and its directors under FEMA for transactions involving cryptocurrencies work Rs 2,790 crore has also been issued.
Therefore, the Minister said, any legislation for regulation or for banning can be effective only with significant international collaboration on evaluation of the risks and benefits and evolution of common taxonomy and standards.
The Minister stated that the ED is investigating several cases related to crypto currency frauds wherein a few crypto exchanges have also been found involved in money laundering. Necessary action as per provisions of Prevention of Monyy Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) has been taken by the ED.
“As on January 31, 2023, proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 936 crore have been attached/seized/freezed, 5 persons have been arrested and 6 prosecution complaints (PCs) including 1 supplementary PC have been filed before the Special Court, PMLA in these cases,” said the reply.
Giving more information, the Minister said that RBI has been cautioning users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (VCs) vide public notices on December 24, 2013, February 1, 2017 and December 5, 2017 that dealing in VCs is associated with potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks.
RBI, vide its circular dated May 31, 2021 has also advised its regulated entities to continue to carry out customer due diligence processes for transactions in VCs, in line with regulations governing standards for Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT), obligations under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, etc in addition to ensuring compliance with relevant provisions under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for overseas remittances, the Minister added.