To claim that the aftermath of India’s Speak Asia scam has been long and arduous would be an understatement.
Back in mid 2011 the company had their primary bank accounts frozen and was effectively shut down. It was later revealed however that, amidst multiple investigations into the company, Speak Asia convinced a judge to unfreeze some of these accounts thus allowing Speak Asia to transfer over a hundred million dollars offshore to Singapore.
A few weeks India’s Crime Investigation Department (CID) managed to get the decision reversed and the accounts frozen again, but by then it was too late. The money was gone.
After much grandstanding between Speak Asia, Indian authorities and die-hard supporters of the company (mostly early investors who made lots of money or those who couldn’t afford to lose what they did and feel they have no choice but to continue to support Speak Asia in the hope the company will pay them back) in India’s legal system, today much of the focus is on the local management of the company, operating under the guise of organising and running panelist’s associations.
With a lack of updates on the status of a chargesheet being filed by the Economic Offenses Wing (despite promising to file a “watertight” case a year and a half ago now), observers and panelists both have been left to wonder what has become of the EOW’s investigation.
The fact that no chargesheet has been filed in so long has naturally been a focal point of Speak Asia supporters to assert the legitimacy of the scheme, despite it being a blatant survey-based Ponzi/pyramid hybrid.
Finally breaking months of silence on the investigative front, the Times of India reports today that
The economic offenses wing (EOW), probing the multi-crore SpeakAsia fraud, is now investigating another 150 bank accounts over suspicion of funds being transferred in the scam.
The police have, so far, already frozen over 210 bank accounts containing over Rs 142 crore.
Over Rs 750 crore was laundered across various countries. The money was sent from India to banks in Singapore and from there to Dubai before it reached Italy and the UK. It was then sent again to the UAE from the UK.
“We are conducting a thorough probe. Hence it is taking time for us to file the first chargesheet. We may file a supplementary charge sheet later,” he added.
Tracking down this money and attempting to recover it and apprehend those involved has, not surprisingly, appears to have been and continue to be a vastly time-consuming and difficult task. Not surprising however when you consider Speak Asia is the biggest scam in Indian history to date.
With its CEO Manoj Kumar still in hiding and seemingly laundered much of the proceeds of the scheme between various Seven Rings International interest around the world, I don’t envy the EOW and their task of recovering what they can and bringing those responsible to justice.
In the wake of continued misinformation being spread by Indian based ringleader panelists seeking to dangle refund carrots infront of those they accepted money from for as long as possible, naturally regular updates on the status of the investigation would be welcomed.
Unfortunately though given the scope of the Speak Asia scam, this brings with it the problem of revealing the EOW’s investigation scope, possibly tipping off those they are after.
For now I suppose we’ll just have to be content with the knowledge that at least things are still progressing behind the scenes. With Speak Asia’s CEO Manoj Kumar still hiding out in Dubai and front-woman Harendar Kaur in Singapore, it remains to be seen if India can hold them responsible and ultimately bring them to justice.