LAHOR: The Sindh Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cybercrime Unit summoned a representative from the global cryptocurrency exchange Binance on Thursday in a scam that allegedly defrauded Pakistanis of $ 100 million (approximately 17.5 billion rupees).
An FIA press release said that on December 20, people across the country started contacting FIA Cyber Crime Sindh via social media and disclosed at least 11 mobile apps, namely MCX, HFC, HTFOX , FXCOPY, OKIMINI, BB001, AVG86C, BX66, UG, TASKTOK, 91fp which had stopped working. All of these apps were connected to Binance wallets.
Stopping these apps cost dozens of people in Pakistan billions of rupees.
“The modus operandi of these apps was to require people to register with Binance Crypto Exchange (Binance Holdings Limited) for trading virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, etc.,” the FIA said. “The next step was to transfer money from Binance Wallet to this particular app’s account.”
The FIA explained that the victims were simultaneously added to groups on the Telegram messaging service where the so-called expert betting signals, on the rise and fall of Bitcoin, were given by the anonymous owner of the app. and administrators of Telegram groups. “Once a sizable capital base was established, these apps crashed, robbing people of millions of dollars through the referral bonus process,” said the FIA.
According to the initial findings of the survey, each of these applications had an average of 5,000 customers, with the HFC application apparently having a maximum of 30,000 customers. According to the FIA, the reported per capita investment range ranged from $ 100 to $ 80,000 with an estimated average of $ 2,000 per person, bringing the estimated scam to nearly $ 100 million.
The FIA wrote to Binance headquarters in the Cayman Islands and Binance US to explain their position on the issue.
“We do not comment on specific issues with regulatory and law enforcement authorities. However, as a policy our general approach is to cooperate with investigations to the extent possible. Specifically, Binance works closely with law enforcement and the regulatory community with the goal of developing best practices, mitigating and thwarting new methods of crime, and preventing illicit proceeds from entering. our trade, ”said the Binance representative summoned by the FIA. Profit.
As a result of the scam, the cybercrime wing of Sindh FIA blocked the debit of Pakistani bank accounts linked to these apps, Telegram contacted to advise on the whereabouts of fraudulent app administrators, social media influencers. promoting these apps have received legal opinions to explain their point of view. contact with applications, among other measures.
“At least 26 suspicious blockchain wallet addresses (Binance wallet address) have been identified where fraudulent amounts may have been transferred,” the FIA said. Additionally, a letter was written to Binance Holdings Limited giving details of these blockchain wallet accounts as well as blocking them by debit.
Binance has also been requested to provide the conditions, official supporting documents, the mechanism for integrating these APIs (Applications) with Binance.
It is relevant to note that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has not authorized or authorized any person or entity to issue, sell, buy, trade or invest in such virtual currencies, coins or tokens in Pakistan. Despite the order, Binance is the largest unregulated virtual currency exchange where Pakistanis have invested millions of dollars.
The FIA said it has started to closely monitor peer-to-peer transactions made by Pakistanis on Binance to combat terrorist financing and money laundering, as Binance is the largest easy-to-use platform facilitating such activities.
FIA Cyber Crime expects Binance to take a liberal and swift approach to help Pakistan track all of these financial crimes. “In the event of non-compliance, the FIA Cyber Crime will be justified in recommending financial sanctions to Binance through the State Bank of Pakistan,” the FIA said.