Over Rs 1,800 cr routed, trade-linked laundering sees rise

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There has been a rise in cases of trade-linked money laundering with the revenue intelligence agency having detected over Rs 1,800 crore which was laundered through various fraudulent means in the country during 2013-14.

As many as 296 such cases were registered by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials in the last fiscal, involving a cumulative amount of Rs 1,817 crore.

According to DRI, during 2012-13, about 251 cases of suspected trade-based money laundering were registered, involving a total amount of about Rs 1,130 crore.

Eleven persons were arrested in 2013-14, as against five in 2012-13, for their role in this new form of money laundering through misuse of various government-run schemes (like foreign or preferential trade agreements) to promote trade, official sources said.

The black money was also being routed through wrong declarations of imported and exported goods, among others, they said.

The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), the lead agency coordinating efforts against financial crimes, is working with DRI to trace the persons behind these cases, the sources added.

"Trade-linked money laundering has emerged as a new modus operandi for routing illegal money. We have alerted all field formations to check any suspicious consignments. Besides, we are coordinating with Customs Overseas Intelligence Network (COIN) officials to keep a check on it," a CEIB official said.

Financial intelligence agencies also detained 21 people under the stringent Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act in the last financial year.

Smugglers and foreign exchange racketeers are detained for a period of one year under COFEPOSA Act, 1974, with a view to preventing them from engaging in prejudicial activities in future.

About 17 persons were detained under COFEPOSA Act during 2012-13.

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