In a first, premier United States investigation agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), landed in Surat to interrogate the Bitcoin racket mastermind Satish Kumbhani. The officers interrogated Kumbhani for the crimes committed in the US through his BitConnect, his fraud crypto company.
Kumbhani was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Surat division in June. The CID has also confiscated property belonging Kumbhani and his partner in crime, Divyesh Darji, who is currently out on bail after serving for eight months, which currently values over Rs 50 crores. They both, along with Dhawal Vijay Mewani and Suresh Gorsiya, conned people using the infamous demonetization of November 2016, to scare them and make them invest in a digital coin they introduced.
Apart from India, BitConnect was operational in many other countries, including the US and the UK. A senior CID official said to reporters,
Kumbhani not only cheated investors in India but also in 10 other countries, including the US. People invested millions in the cryptocurrency floated by Kumbhani and suffered huge losses.
The officer added that the cheating company was operational in the US where Kumbhani used Darji to market the company, as the latter had “great marketing skills and command on English.”
After the investors started making considerable losses, the regulatory departments in the US sent notices to BitConnect but couldn’t nab them as they were on the run. As soon as the FBI came to know about their arrest by the Gujarat CID, the Delhi based FBI officers came down to interrogate him. However, no details on the interrogation have been revealed yet.
Gujarat has been in the news for quite a few crypto-related crimes, with as many as nine cases being registered with the state’s CID. Earlier in May this year, a crypto trader named Bharat Patel committed suicide after allegedly being harassed by a senior police cop for the losses he suffered in Bitcoin trading.