The alleged bitcoin Ponzi kingpin, Amit Bhardwaj, has reportedly offered to pay back the initial investments in Indian rupees to those who lost money through his scheme. However, victims want the current value of their cryptocurrencies, not the initial investments. Zebpay, one of India’s largest crypto exchanges, has also been called in to help with the investigation.
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Bitcoin Ponzi Kingpin Offers to Compensate Victims
Amit Bhardwaj, the founder of GBminers and Gainbitcoin, has offered “to pay back investors their initial investments in Indian rupees,” the Factor Daily reported Wednesday.
He has been accused of duping thousands of investors with promises of unrealistic returns on bitcoin investments. According to the news outlet, “dozens have filed police complaints in Pune, Mumbai, Nanded (Maharashtra), Kolkata, Delhi and others cities.” One of the victims was quoted as saying:
We want the returns in (today’s) cryptocurrency value and not the value of the cryptocurrency when we invested. Today, the bitcoin price is much higher than what it was when we invested. It is like Bhardwaj will keep the profits and just return the principal amount which is wrong.
Since the middle of 2015, more than Rs 1,000 crore (~US$146 million) is estimated to have been invested in the Bhardwaj-led Gainbitcoin empire, the publication detailed.
Citing that Zebpay, one of India’s largest crypto exchanges, was called in to help with the investigation, Inspector Jayram Paygude of the Pune Cyber Crime Cell explained to the publication:
Zebpay is the platform through which investment and sale of bitcoins were done in this case, which is why they were called for an enquiry.
Challenge Recovering Crypto
During an assembly session held last week, Nationalist Congress Party member Hemant Takle raised questions about the delay in recovering bitcoins “and the inability of the police to nab the remaining absconders in the case,” according to the news outlet. He also raised the question regarding the compensation that Bhardwaj’s victims will receive, pointing out the difference in the price of BTC now and at the time of their initial investments.
In response to Takle’s statement, Deepak Kesarkar, a member of the 13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, explained the difficulty in recovering some of the victims’ money which has been invested in bitcoin, stating:
Some of this amount is recovered by the police department through the e-wallets of these companies. The value of these digital currencies in the wallet will be recovered but it is difficult to recover the investment made in foreign companies.
Last week, the Indian state of Maharashtra announced that it is establishing a special unit to investigate all cases related to cryptocurrency, a move which follows the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India taking effect.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Zebpay.
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