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Indian cryptocurrency firms are under probe for drug trade

India is probing three digital asset management companies for their alleged involvement in the narcotics trade.

The enforcement directorate and the income-tax department are leading the probe which has so far tracked transactions worth 28,000 crore rupees ($3.4 billion), The Economic Times newspaper reported yesterday (Oct. 27).

Some 200 transactions using digital currencies have been reportedly identified by the agencies in the probe. These deals were carried out between 2019 and 2021 in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, besides Nigeria. They were routed via exchanges in India, the newspaper reported citing inputs from senior government officials.

Indian authorities have conducted several inspections and raids or searches of cryptocurrency exchanges this year in matters related to money laundering.

Drug trafficking has seen an increase

There has been an increase in the number of illegal cases involving links between the narcotics trade and cryptocurrency.

In April, India’s government informed parliament that payments of around $266,750 through cryptocurrencies (pdf) had been unearthed in 11 such cases.

Cryptocurrencies provide traffickers considerable anonymity while escaping financial regulations. Meanwhile, there’s been an increase in drug smuggling cases, too, in India.

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