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WazirX Accounts Unfrozen by ED After a Month, Crypto Exchange Says Usual Business to Continue

The Enforcement Directorate has unfrozen the bank account of cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, which was under its scanner since last month, the company said in a statement on Monday, September 12. WazirX, India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange,  will continue its banking operations as usual, the company said.

“Due to the active cooperation extended by WazirX and active Anti-money laundering (AML) checks that led to the blocking of suspicious accounts, ED has unfreezed the bank accounts of WazirX. WazirX is now in a position to continue its banking operations as usual,” read the statement on Monday.

The ED had last month said it had conducted searches on one of the directors of M/s Zanmai Lab Pvt Ltd, the company that operates WazirX. After conducting the raids, the central agency froze the company’s assets worth Rs 64.67 crore.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been conducting an investigation of 16 fintech companies and Instant loan apps. Some of them happened to use WazirX platform, the company said. “WazirX has been cooperating with the investigators by providing them all the necessary details, information and documents of the alleged accused companies, who used the WazirX platform.”

The company further clarified that it has no association with any of the alleged accused fintech and instant loan app entities which appear to be the subject of ED investigation and is carrying out the KYC/AML checks despite having no legal obligation to do so. WazirX is like any other intermediary whose platform may have been misused, it said.

“After an in-depth internal investigation, WazirX noticed that most of the users whose information was sought by ED were already identified as suspicious by WazirX internally and were already blocked in 2020-2021,” it said in the statement.

“WazirX has a no-tolerance policy towards any illegal activities using its platform and mandates the users to use it for legal and bonafide purposes only. On WazirX, the users undertake to operate as per all the applicable laws,” said the company.

The agency conducted raids against the director of Zanmai Lab on August 3 in Hyderabad and alleged he was “non-cooperative”. Its probe against the crypto exchange is linked to its ongoing investigation against a number of Chinese loan apps (mobile applications) working in India. The agency had charged WazirX last year for alleged contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). On August 5, it froze the assets of WazirX.

“It was found that Sameer Mhatre, Director WazirX, has complete remote access to the database of WazirX, but despite that he is not providing the details of the transactions relating to the crypto assets, purchased from the proceeds of crime of instant loan app fraud.” “The lax KYC norms, loose regulatory control of transactions between WazirX and Binance, non-recording of transactions on block chains to save costs and non-recording of the KYC of the opposite wallets has ensured that WazirX is not able to give any account for the missing crypto assets,” the ED had alleged in a statement.

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