Police in the Indian city of Thane have raided the offices of an alleged multi-million cryptocurrency scam on Monday. According to its promoters, Money Trade Coin (MTC) “provides a safer, more secure and superior alternative of storing wealth in the form of digital currency, to investors as well as commoners.” Investigators, however, accuse it of being a front for an international fraud, misleading investors with promises of high returns, real estate and foreign passports.
New Age Cryptocurrency
On its website MTC is described as intellectual property jointly owned by Dubai based firm Bitcoin Global FZE, UAE and Money Trade Coin Ltd, UK. And Mr. Amit M. Lakhanpal is said to be the Director of Money Trade Coin Ltd (and one of the key members of Bitcoin Global FZE and MD of Flintstone Group, India). While two people were detained on Monday, Lakhanpal is reportedly still at large and the police believe he may have fled India.
Flintstone’s Thane office reportedly had twenty employees, while another office in the Mumbai suburb of Vikhroli had a staff of fifty. The investigation started after a local businessman complained that he and his colleagues were not able to get a response from the company about their invested funds.
Police, Bollywood and Politicians
The police said Lakhanpal’s office showcased photos of him with “leading political personalities” used to impress his alleged victims. Additionally, “He may have even invested in a Bollywood film featuring a major male star, but we are verifying this.” A senior officer even told the Hindustan Times that some members of the police were allegedly involved with MTC and their involvement is being investigated.
“Pal and his associates promised investors a 20-times return on investment in a mere six months. But once the deadline passed, the company made several excused to not release the money,” the officer said. “A few days ago, some investors even went to Dubai to meet Lakhanpal, but they were allegedly threatened, and were told that they should not ask for their money. We also found that Lakhanpal had never constructed any building, even though he claimed to run a real estate company.”