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India’s AML watchdog unfreezes accounts of crypto exchange WazirX

on Sep 12, 2022
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  • India's Enforcement Directorate froze WazirX accounts last month as part of a money laundering investigation.
  • WazirX announced on Monday the agency had unfrozen the accounts following co-operation from the exchange.
  • The move will allow WazirX to continue with its banking operations, the crypto exchange wrote.

India-based cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has announced that the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) watchdog has “unfrozen” the crypto platform’s accounts.

An update the crypto exchange published on Monday, undoubtedly the latest positive crypto news from India, noted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had taken the step following active cooperation from the WazirX team.

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India’s WazirX cooperation with AML agency

Invezz reported in August how Indian authorities moved to freeze the exchange’s accounts and assets as part of investigations into a money laundering scheme involving 16 fintech startups and loan apps.

ED had faulted WazirX for non-compliance with investigation requests for transaction details and documents of the alleged launderers and their entities. 

But as the crypto platform notes in its blog update, it has cooperated with the authorities and provided the required information relating to the companies – some of which are shown to have used WazirX as ED claimed.

Part of today’s announcement read:

“Due to the active cooperation extended by WazirX and active Anti-money laundering (AML) checks that led to the blocking of suspicious accounts, ED has unfrozen the bank accounts of WazirX. WazirX is now in a position to continue its banking operations as usual.”

When ED froze WazirX accounts, the crypto exchange lost access to assets worth over 646 million rupees (about $8.16 million, £6.75 million at the time). According to the watchdog, suspected money laundering platforms had used the crypto platform to launder over 570 million rupees (about $7.16 million, £6.14 million.)

While the investigation into the activities of the entities highlighted by the ED continues, WazirX has restated it has no connection with the platforms. Indeed, the Indian crypto exchange says it’s like any other platform whose services might be misused.

Nonetheless, the exchange retains a “no-tolerance policy towards illegal activities” and is implementing “KYC/AML checks despite having no legal obligation to do so.”

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