As part of a money laundering investigation into the fintech business and Sea Ltd''s Free Fire, India''s financial crime fighting agency on Tuesday searched the premises of Coda Payments India.
Following claims that the platforms made unlawful deductions from the accounts of online game users, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it had started an investigation into the companies.
ED has conducted searches in three locations related to M/s Coda Payments India Pvt Ltd in connection with an ongoing investigation under PMLA, 2002 against M/s Coda Payments India Pvt. Ltd and the Garena Free Fire''s mobile game and frozen bank account balance of Rs. 68.53 Crore.
Coda is able to make cross-border payments for games and other digital goods, including Garena Free Fire, Teen Patti Gold, and Call of Duty. The ED has also frozen all Coda''s accounts, which had a total balance of 685.3 million people.
Coda Payments and Sea did not respond to any emails that sought clarification.
Reuters said earlier this year, citing four sources, that Singapore had raised concerns with India about the ban of popular gaming app Free Fire, owned by Sea, in the first sign of diplomatic intervention after the move spooked investors.
The market value of the Southeast Asian company, which was formerly listed in New York, dropped by $16 billion in a single day, and investors were concerned that India might expand it to Sea''s e-commerce app, Shopee, which was recently introduced in the country at the time.
Singapore, according to sources, had asked Indian authorities why the Chinese app had been targeted in a growing crackdown on Chinese apps, even if Sea has its headquarters in the wealthy city state.
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Singapore had asked if the app "was unintentionally banned," according to one of the Indian officials aware of the diplomatic initiative, according to Reuters.
The two Indian sources said at the time, the two were sent to the Information Technology (IT) department that prohibited the ban.
The government has imposed a ban on the use of Garena Free Fire, Tencent''s Xriver, and NetEase''s Onmyoji Arena. So far, nearly 300 apps have been blocked in the country since border issues in May 2020.
2022, Thomson Reuters