Use of gambling platforms for illegal transactions and money laundering has become a cause of concern for the tax authorities of India. Recently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided and searched many Bitcoin companies operating in India. ED believes that Bitcoins can be used for hawala transactions and funding terror operations.
Now it has been reported that the income tax officials on Tuesday raided four offshore casino vessels and one onshore casino in Panaji, on a tip-off that they were indulging in illegal cash transactions. A team of officers from Bangalore raided the offices and vessels of Deltin Royale and Deltin Jaqk, Casino Pride 1 and Pride 2, as well as Hotel Neo Majestic in Porvorim that lodges Casino Paradise. The residences of company directors B R Arora, Ashok Wadia and Ashok Khetrapal in Goa, Mumbai and Delhi were also raided, I-T sources said.
The casinos were shut down for the day, and customers present, when the I-T officials arrived, were asked to leave. “But, we have not sealed any of the casinos yet,” an I-T detective clarified.
“We received information that the casinos were being used for money-laundering. As many of the high-rollers do not divulge the source of the money they spend gambling, the casinos are also unable to keep an account of the same,” said an I-T sleuth. “We have seized a large number of documents and some cash, and are now going through the accounts to gather evidence. It may take a few days to complete the process,” he added.
A Notification by Goa Government for Preventing Money Laundering and for Combating Financing of Terrorism 2012 (PDF) was issued in 2012 in this regard. By virtue of clause xiv of that notification the Goa Anti Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Guidelines 2013 (PDF) were formulated.
Through these regulations, the Goa Government had mandated that all casino operators follow certain “Know Your Customer” norms, requiring them to keep a record of the identity of every customer and the source of the person’s money. It is also compulsory for casino operators to report financial transactions of more than 10 lakh to the financial intelligence unit of the Central Government. All customer-related data should be retained for 10 years, according to the guidelines.
With reference to the new item appearing in the Media titled “IT department raids the premises of the company”, Delta Corp Ltd has Clarified to BSE that the Income Tax Authorities had carried out search and seizure proceedings at the premises of the Company and certain officials on April 29, 2014. The Company is in the process of collating & responding to all the queries raised by the Income Tax Authorities and the responsible officers of the company have been extending all co-operation in this regard.