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ED Searches Offices Linked to Fairplay App over ‘Financial Fraud’

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Thursday said it conducted searches on multiple locations in connection with its probe on an off shore illegal betting application, Fairplay. The said app was allegedly involved in illegal broadcasting of cricket matches, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) and various online betting activities including results of recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.

The agency, which has been probing Mahadev Online Book app, is now investigating offshore online applications to find out who are the promoters and the ultimate beneficiaries of these applications. “…these foreign apps induce gullible people by using celebrities to endorse their apps to project themselves as being legitimate. While in the Viacom case they were illegally broadcasting the matches live and running a link of accepting online bets, a deeper probe has led that through the app they were also accepting bets in the LS polls,” a senior official told ET.

“Since the entire operation is managed from offshore, the probe is to un veil the people behind the illicit business,” added the official.

As the part of the searches which commenced on Wednesday, premises of the event management companies which endorsed the app and the shell companies through which the proceeds of crime were allegedly routed abroad were covered. “During the course of search operations, movable assets i.e. cash, bank funds, demat account holdings and luxury watches to the tune of ₹8 crore (approx.) were seized/frozen, and various other incriminating documents & digital devices,” the ED said in a statement Thursday.

ED investigation revealed that Fairplay made agreements through foreign based entities in Dubai and Curacao with Indian event management companies representing celebrities. “… It was found that no due diligence was performed by Indian agencies regarding Fairplay before executing the agreements for its promotion. Further, investigation conducted till date revealed that Fairplay collected funds through various bogus/shell bank accounts which in turn were layered through complex web of bank accounts of shell entities and were then accumulated in pharma companies involved in bogus billing,” the statement further added.

S-ET Image Source: Google

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