ED Questions TV Stars Krystle D'Souza And Karan Wahi In OctaFx Money Laundering Case; Nia Sharma Fails To Appear

ED Questions TV Stars Krystle D'Souza And Karan Wahi In OctaFx Money Laundering Case; Nia Sharma Fails To Appear

D'souza and Wahi's statements were recorded as witnesses in this case. The agency had also summoned actress Nia Sharma also in connection with the promotion of the said platform, but she failed to appear before the ED.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 10:08 PM IST
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Krystle D'Souza, Karan Wahi and Nia Sharma | X | Instagram

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recorded statements of television actors Krystle D'souza and Karan Wahi on Wednesday in connection with an alleged money laundering case linked to the illegal online forex trading app OctaFx and OctaFX.com.

According to the agency sources, D'souza and Wahi's statements were recorded as witnesses in this case. The agency had also summoned actress Nia Sharma also in connection with the promotion of the said platform, but she failed to appear before the ED.

The sources said actors Krystle D'souza and Karan Wahi were called for inquiry in order to elicit information about payments being made for promotion of the app named OctaFx which also had a website www.Octafx.Com.Additionally, the inquiry aimed to identify individuals in India who oversee operations, manage business affairs, handle bank accounts, and engage celebrities to promote OctaFx, facilitating payments on behalf of the company.

It is alleged that these actors were involved in promoting and endorsing the app, especially during the COVID-19 period. They were associated with the illegal forex trading app OctaFx in 2020-21 and promoted the app and website that were trading illegally. They also endorsed the "Learn to Trade" show during the COVID period, purportedly aimed at helping people trade from home.

The show "Learn to Trade" was hosted by Karan Wahi, with television actresses Krystle D'Souza and Nia Sharma also participating. Additionally, they promoted a marathon competition to achieve $1000 goals by sharing videos on social media. The OctaFx online trading app and website are operating in India in association with India-based entity M/s OctaFx India Private Limited.

Earlier in April, the central agency had conducted search operations in connection with the case at various locations in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. During the searches, the ED had frozen Rs 2.7 crore kept in bank accounts and seized various incriminating documents and digital devices.

ED's money laundering investigation into the scam is based on an FIR registered at Pune’s Shivaji Nagar police station. The FIR was lodged against several people for their alleged involvement in luring people with high returns and duping them under the pretext of forex trading through the OctaFx trading platform.

According to the ED, the app and its website have not been authorised by the Reserve Bank of India to deal in forex trading. The trading platform is widely promoted on social networking sites and follows referral-based incentive models for acquiring users to their platforms.

The ED said it came to the fore during investigation that multiple accounts of different Indian banks were being shown to investors/users on the app and website for collecting funds in the guise of facilitating forex trading. The app and the website manipulated trade activities and information shown on its platform, ultimately resulting in net loss to the traders.

The ED investigation had revealed that the funds accumulated by the trading platform were simultaneously transferred to multiple e-wallet accounts such as Neteller, Skrill, or to the bank accounts of dummy entities, and a major portion of the amount was used to purchase crypto currencies or assets, leading to the transfer of Indian currency to overseas entities.This way, OctaFx India Pvt Ltd, OctaFx, and their entities have allegedly cheated investors in the guise of forex trading thereby earning a profit of more than Rs 500 crore from the Indian region.

Indian laws allow only authorised dealer banks and firms having a forex trading licence to deal in foreign currencies. Residents are permitted to trade currency futures contracts like dollar-rupee and euro-rupee on local stock exchanges. But an individual trader cannot trade directly in foreign currencies or even transfer funds abroad under RBI’s liberalised remittance scheme to trade in currencies in offshore financial markets.

The anti-money laundering agency so far has attached assets to the tune of Rs 35 crore in the form of cryptocurrencies, bank balances, gold coins etc. It has also been revealed that the entire process of reflecting account numbers of dummy entities, managing the funds collected in these accounts and diversion of the same are being managed and operated by the owner of OctaFx group entities based in Spain, Russia, Georgia and Dubai, said the ED.

M/s. OctaFx has also hired several Indian individuals working in Spain/Russia for operating the OctaFx trading platform and inducing Indian citizens to invest in forex trading through OctaFx.

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