By Divyesh Singh: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently searched premises related to the VIPS Group of Companies and Global Affiliate Business, managed by Vinod Khute and his relatives in Maharashtra’s Pune and Ahmednagar, which resulted in the seizure of cash as well as bank balances amounting to Rs.18.54 crore.
The investigation was initiated by the probe agency under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. Vinod Khute, who is presently residing in Dubai, is said to be the mastermind behind various cases of illegal trade, crypto by exchange, and wallet services being operated through the VIPS Group of companies. Its proceeds were being siphoned off through Hawalas to various foreign countries.
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The probe revealed that Global Affiliate Business was being operated through a mobile application named ‘Global Affiliate Business’ available on Google Play Store as well as Apple Store. The group was running illegal and unauthorized multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes, wherein if a person opts for it as a member and refers it to other clients, a commission on their investment on the application is credited into their wallets.
Funds to the tune of Rs 125 crore were collected from various investors using this scam. Further, Global Affiliate Business was also marketing a business called Kana Capital, which is engaged in brokerage. Under this, various clients trade forex, crypto and stocks.
Kana Capitals, in consultation with directors of the VIPS group of companies, also conducted various weekly training programmes for clients of Global Affiliate Business. They tried to train them on the sale and purchase of crypto, stocks, and how to lure other clients into MLM schemes.
Investigation revealed that crores were collected as investments in cash, and the proceeds collected by Global Affiliate Business, were siphoned off out of the country through Hawala Channels as well as through various shell companies.
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