BitConnect founder Satish Kumbhani flees India, on the run
An SEC filing has revealed BitConnect founder Satish Kumbhani has fled India.
Kumbhani became a person of interest to Indian authorities in mid 2018.
At the time Kumbhani (right) was implicated in a $22.7 million dollar extortion scheme.
While Indian authorities were able to make arrests in the case, Kumbhani had fled India in late 2017 and remained at large.
Things get a murky here. Sometime in the first half of 2019 Kumbhani was arrested in Gujurat, India.
We know this because the FBI sent agents to interrogate Kumbhani in mid 2019, as reported by local media.
It appears rather than make the case against Kumbhani stick, Indian authorities at some point released him.
Kumbhani of course promptly fled the country again.
In September 2021 the SEC filed a lawsuit against BitConnect, Kumbhani and US executive Glenn Arcaro.
In order to make that lawsuit stick, the SEC has to serve Kumbhani.
On November 16th the SEC filed a letter motion, requesting an extension to the deadline to serve Kumbhani.
As the Complaint alleges, Kumbhani is the founder and manager of BitConnect, and the Commission did not know the whereabouts of Kumbhani, an Indian citizen, when it filed this action.
In October 2021, the Commission staff learned that Kumbhani had likely relocated from India to an unknown address in a different country.
The Commission has sought assistance from that country’s financial regulatory authorities in locating Kumbhani, so that the Commission may serve him, and Bitconnect through him.
The Commission has not yet received any such address and is unable to estimate how long it will take to obtain one.
Here’s the kicker; the SEC filed its motion because of a 90-day time limit to serve US-based defendants.
The extension request was made on the off chance Kumbhani is in the US. The SEC states it “cannot rule out the possibility” Kumbhani is in the US.
Between the US and Dubai, or some other hidey-hole – I’d be extremely surprised to learn Kumbhani was in the US.
And assuming Kumbhani is in Dubai, it’s hardly surprising authorities there aren’t cooperating.
Due to regulatory non-cooperation, a lack of extradition treaties and no local regulation of securities fraud, Dubai is a safe-haven for scammers.
It should be noted that Kumbhani’s whereabouts haven’t been confirmed since 2017. The SEC does not reveal the country they believe he’s fled to.
Supporting Kumbhani fleeing to Dubai though is the DOJ’s criminal case against BitConnect US executive Glenn Arcaro.
If Arcaro’s been indicted it’s highly likely there’s a sealed indictment on Kumbhani. That indictment isn’t getting unsealed however until Kumbhani is arrested.
Which in turn means he’s likely in a country that doesn’t cooperate. Dubai in the UAE isn’t the only candidate but it’s a good one.
The SEC’s extension motion was granted on November 17th, giving the SEC until February 28th to effect service. If Kumbhani is outside the US, that deadline doesn’t apply.
Stay tuned for updates as we continue to track the case.
Update 17th March 2022 – The service deadline, on the off chance Kumbhani is in the US, has been extended till May 25th.
Update 5th June 2022 – On May 25th the SEC filed a request to extend the “Kumbhani might be in the US” service deadline.
The SEC “believes” Kumbhani is presently outside of the US but is covering its bases nonetheless.
The court granted the SEC’s request on May 26th, setting a new 28th August deadline. Again, this is for service in the US. There is no deadline to serve Kumbhani outside of the US.
There’s also this update on service on Kumbhani outside of the US;
At present, although the Commission has submitted a formal request for assistance from the foreign country’s authorities for information as to Kumbhani’s whereabouts, it has yet to receive a substantive response, nor been otherwise able to locate Kumbhani.
Although not confirmed, that certainly sounds like Dubai to me.
Update 14th March 2023 – As at the time of this update, the SEC is still trying to initiate service on Kumbani.
This is from a filed March 2nd Status Report;
In the Commission’s most recent prior status report to the Court, the Commission reported that it was undertaking additional efforts to request the assistance of a second foreign country to locate Kumbhani, after its prior efforts to find him in a different
country were unsuccessful.
Since the Commission’s most recent status report, the Commission received information from regulatory authorities in that second country, but unfortunately that information did not reveal new or current information as to Kumbhani’s whereabouts.
The SEC requested an additional 90 days to serve Kumbhani, which was granted on March 3rd.
90 days puts us at June 1st, at which time another Status Report is expected from the SEC.
Update 23rd August 2023 – I might have noted the previous SEC Status Report but didn’t leave an update.
In any event, on August 18th the SEC filed another Status Report update;
notwithstanding its prior efforts to ascertain Kumbhani’s location, including from foreign regulatory authorities, his location remained unknown.
As of the date of this letter, Kumbhani’s location remains unknown
The SEC requested another 90 day service extension, which was granted on August 21st.