A16z-backed CoinSwitch exchange raided over alleged forex law breaches


Major Indian crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber had five of its premises searched by anti-money laundering agents on Thursday over alleged violations of forex laws. 

According to an Aug. 25 report from Bloomberg, India’s Enforcement Directorate searched CoinSwitch Kuber’s offices as well as the residences of its directors and CEO Ashish Singhal.

A source told the publication the crypto exchange is under suspicion of acquiring shares worth more than $250 million in contravention of forex laws, as well as being non-compliant with certain know-your-customer (KYC) requirements.

The Directorate of Enforcement is a federal enforcement and intelligence agency operating under the Ministry of Finance. According to its website, the agency’s primary objective is the enforcement of acts including the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

CoinSwitch Kuber said in a statement: “We receive queries from various government agencies. Our approach has always been that of transparency.”

“Crypto is an early stage industry with a lot of potential and we continuously engage with all stakeholders.”

Launched in India in 2020, CoinSwitch Kuber is one of the largest crypto exchanges in India alongside WazirX and CoinDCX, with over 18 million registered users.

CoinSwitch Kuber reached “unicorn” status last year after raising $260 million in a Series C funding round led by Coinbase venture capital arm Coinbase Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. The company is also backed by Sequoia, Paradigm, Ribbit, and Tiger Global.

The actions follow a continued clampdown on the cryptocurrency space in India.

Earlier this month, Enforcement Directorate froze roughly $8.1 million in funds from crypto exchange WazirX, alleging that the crypto exchange facilitated transactions by unnamed fintech firms “to purchase crypto assets and then launder them abroad.”

Related: The regulatory implications of India’s crypto transactions tax

This year has also seen the government introduce two new laws demanding crippling taxes on crypto-related unrealized gains and transactions.

In a recent survey conducted with 2042 Indian cryptocurrency investors by crypto exchange KuCoin, 33% of survey respondents noted they were concerned by ambiguous government regulations that could deter potential investors from crypto.

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