UAE-based investors hit by the multi-million dollar I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam have welcomed a crackdown against the company by India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), but remain sceptical about getting their money back.
The ED seized IMA assets worth Dh111 million under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on Friday, dealing yet another crushing blow to the Bengaluru-based firm, which stands accused of running a sophisticated Ponzi scheme in the guise of halal investment plans.
Over 40,000 Indian investors, including many based in the UAE have been left counting their losses following IMA’s spectacular collapse.
The ED said they have also filed a criminal case of money laundering against the IMA group of companies and its managing director Mohammed Mansoor Khan, who has reportedly been holed up in the UAE since June 8.
Last week, Interpol issued a blue-corner notice against Khan and now ED is said to be working towards getting an arrest warrant against him.
IMA victims in the UAE said they are happy with the development but unsure if it would help their cause.
“The whole thing has become a slugfest India’s ruling party BJP and the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka. The concern of investors have been put on the backburner,” said a Dubai based expat who invested Dh400,000 in the company.
An Abu Dhabi-based investor who pegged his losses at Dh450,000 said he wants the investigating agency to widen its probe and also include cases of victims based outside of India.
“Would there be anything for us if IMA assets are liquidated to pay back investors?” he asked.
Another investor said he’s given up hope of getting back any money.
“People rarely get back money lost to a Ponzi scheme. All what I want now is to see the perpetrators of this scam behind bars,” he said.
Billed as an Islamic banking and halal investment firm, IMA offered 36 per cent annual returns on investments. Lured by the attractive profits, thousands invested into the company since its launch in 2006.
Everybody was happy while they were getting the promised money.
But when the music stopped playing and the IMA boss released an audio clip threatening to commit suicide, investors hit the panic button.
Within days, the company fell apart, causing the equivalent of a financial apocalypse across thousands of homes.