Indian police have arrested a man in connection with an alleged five billion rupee ($71.6m / £56m) cryptocurrency scam.
Police in the city of Thane claim Rohit Kumar is part of a gang accused of defrauding investors – one of whom is believed to have fled to London.
It is the fourth arrest of an ongoing case that started a year ago after cops unveiled the alleged fraud in Mumbai, according to local media.
The gang is accused of inflating the cost of their cryptocurrency, Money Trade Coin (MTC), to attract investors.
Officers say Amit Lakhanpal, the chief executive officer of a real estate firm, launched the cryptocurrency. Two other men were arrested, including Lakhanpal’s chief accountant.
When the price of the cryptocurrency fell, the investors claim they were unable to redeem the currency. It was allegedly never listed in any cryptocurrency market.
A source told the Indian Express: “The accused had set up an office in Delhi’s Vikram Nagar and used to collect money from investors promising high returns.
“Lakhanpal was earlier holed up in Dubai and we believe that he may have fled to London.”
A police document registered on New Year’s Eve after the arrest of Rohit Kumar says criminal conspiracy and fraud crimes are being investigated.
The Indian government has, for several years, taken a dim view of crypto and had even discussed the prospect of declaring wallets, exchanges, and coins illegal.
But now politicians are on the brink of giving crypto the green light, albeit under strict regulation.