India’s financial crime fighting agency searched the premises of Coda Payments India, distributor of Sea’s Free Fire, as part of an investigation.
The Enforcement Directorate said in a tweet Tuesday that it searched three premises of Coda Payments India as part of an “ongoing investigation” into the distributor and Free Fire, a title that New Delhi banned earlier this year, and froze bank accounts with a balance of $8.4 million.
The Southeast Asian giant Sea-owned battle royale game had more than 40 million of its 75 million globally monthly active users in India in January, according to analytics firm data.ai (formerly App Annie), data of which an industry executive shared with TechCrunch. Sea, which counts Tencent among its largest backers, was also quietly testing its social commerce Shopee in India. In March, Sea said it was shutting down its India operations.
Even as India has never said it is particularly taking action against developers from any certain country, the vast majority of the apps it has banned in the past two years had origins in China. Chinese giant Tencent, which is a major investor in Shopee, is one of the few Chinese connections Free Fire carries.
The government agency has performed over half a dozen probes into tech firms this year, including those in Chinese smartphone vendors Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi, and seized more than $1 billion of capital that it said firms had evaded in fraudulent tax computations.
The Enforcement Directorate is also freezing assets worth over $8 million from WazirX earlier this year, citing suspected violation of foreign exchange rule, and $46 million from the local entity of Vauld for facilitating “crime-derived” proceeds from predatory lending firms. Last month, it alleged that crypto exchange CoinSwitch violated forex laws.