ED Conducts Extensive Searches in Mumbai and Pune in Connection with Fairplay Case

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Mumbai/Pune, 13th June 2024: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED), Mumbai Zonal Office, conducted extensive search operations on June 12, 2024, targeting 19 locations across Mumbai and Pune.

These actions are part of the ongoing investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, focusing on Fairplay (https://thefairplay.io), a platform implicated in illegal broadcasting of cricket/Indian Premier League (IPL) matches and various online betting activities, including results of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

During the search operations, the ED seized or froze movable assets worth approximately Rs. 8 Crore. These assets included cash, bank funds, Demat account holdings, and luxury watches. Additionally, the ED recovered various incriminating documents and digital devices.

The investigation was initiated based on an FIR filed by the Nodal Cyber Police, Mumbai, following a complaint by Viacom18 Media Pvt Limited. The complaint was lodged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the Copyright Act, 1957, against Fairplay Sport LLC and others, accusing them of causing revenue losses exceeding Rs. 100 Crore.

The ED’s probe revealed that Fairplay entered into agreements through foreign entities based in Dubai and Curacao with Indian agencies representing celebrities. It was found that these Indian agencies did not conduct due diligence before promoting Fairplay.

Further investigations uncovered that Fairplay funneled funds through numerous bogus and shell bank accounts, which were layered through a complex network of bank accounts belonging to shell entities. These funds were then accumulated in pharmaceutical companies engaged in bogus billing. The investigation also revealed that funds were siphoned off to overseas shell entities located in Hong Kong SAR, China, and Dubai. Over 400 bank accounts of shell entities were utilized for these transactions, which are currently under examination, along with the tracking and utilization of funds collected from the public by Fairplay.

The ED continues to investigate the case, with further developments expected as the probe progresses.