The Mumbai Crime Branch in India is set to question Bollywood actor Shahbaz Khan over his involvement in a cryptocurrency scam.
The case hit the roof after the Mumbai police arrested four scammers for running Cashcoin, a high-yield investment program that duped investors of ₹1 billion (~$14.52 million). The accused reportedly ran seminars and marketing events across major Indian cities to sell their cloud mining schemes. They would promise investors double returns while projecting bitcoin’s success as a yardstick for their project’s potential progress.
Cashcoin approached Shahbaz Khan, a yesteryear actor with over 200 credits in Hindi television and movie industry, to spread its agenda. Khan would use its influence on social media to bring legitimacy to their cloud mining project. He would also appear in Cashcoin seminars and speak well about the project personally with investors. Khan can be seen in one of his Youtube videos inviting investors to Indian city Surat for a Cashcoin event. Excerpts from his video (translated from Hindi):
“I will be in Surat on January 5, 2017, for promoting Cashcoin. As we all know that the future belongs to the cashless trend, we also know how much important role cryptocurrencies would play. So, we’ll meet at the event to know more about Cashcoin.”
Indian police suspect that Shahbaz Khan received monetary benefits for promoting the said scam. If proved, Khan could face a severe penalty to compensate for the investors’ losses. He could also land in prison on the charges of fraud, breach of trust, criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and sections of Information Technology Act.
Shahbaz Khan’s mention in a cryptocurrency scam closely follows a long history of Bollywood’s relationships with scams and dubious promotions. Before Khan, Indian actors including Shilpa Shetty, Nargis Fakhri, Zarine Khan, and Bipasha Basu openly promoted the works of GainBitcoin mastermind Amit Bhardwaj. The $5.26 billion-scam also allegedly received support from Shetty’s husband, Raj Kundra.
In another instance, the Indian police sent notices to big names in Bollywood and cricket over their role in promoting a scam-ridden multi-level marketing firm, QNet. Leading actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, and Vivek Oberoi had received court notices on the matter.
“These people have been brand ambassadors for this company, endorsing their products and going for their meetings. We came to know they have received huge remuneration and traveled abroad with the company representatives. This is a serious offense,” Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar had told TNM.
Vivek Oberoi, who will play the title role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming biopic, had agreed to accept bribes for promoting an Indian political party. Former porn actor Sunny Leone also decided to receive kickbacks for issuing false political tweets.