Indian Agency 'Unfreezes' Bank Account of Crypto Exchange WazirX

The account was frozen in relation to the "illegal loan apps" scam investigation, which has come under the national spotlight.

AccessTimeIconSep 12, 2022 at 7:57 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:41 p.m. UTC

India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) has "unfrozen" or restarted the business bank account of crypto exchange WazirX more than a month after it was frozen by the agency, the company said on Monday.

Last month, the exchange's bank account was frozen by the ED in relation to a still ongoing investigation into alleged fraud on instant loan apps, apps that make short-term loans.

Some of the 16 fintech companies under investigation had used the WazirX platform, the company said in a blog post on Monday. "WazirX has been cooperating with the investigators by providing them with all the necessary details, information, and documents of the alleged accused companies who used the WazirX platform," the exchange added.

The ED did not immediately respond to CoinDesk queries.

The "illegal loan apps" scam with China links has come under the national spotlight with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairing a meeting which was also attended by the Deputy Governor of India's central bank, about the apps on Sept. 8.

On Aug. 5, the ED raided properties of WazirX director Sameer Mhatre for allegedly actively assisting "around 16 accused fintech companies in laundering the proceeds of crime using the crypto route." The agency also froze $8.1 million in funds held by the exchange.

The events snowballed into a Twitter spat between WazirX's co-founder Nischal Shetty and Binance's CEO Changpeng Zhao about who truly owns WazirX.

The company also stated it had no association with any of the alleged accused companies and that it had already identified and blocked most of the suspicious users after an internal investigation in 2020-2021.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is CoinDesk's regulatory reporter covering India. He holds BTC and ETH below CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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