Bitcoin

$24 Million Thai Bitcoin Scam Involves Renowned Investor and TV Actor

Ricardo Esteves | August 21, 2018 | 10:00 am
scam
Bitcoin

$24 Million Thai Bitcoin Scam Involves Renowned Investor and TV Actor

Ricardo Esteves | August 21, 2018 | 10:00 am

Renowned stock exchange investor Prasit Srisuwan claimed to be a damaged party in the case of a $24 million bitcoin scam that victimized Finnish national Aarni Otava Saarimaa. Srisuwan recommended Saarimaa to invest in DNA 2002 Plc shares, a bitcoin-related business, for its high-growth potential. He brokered the deal, but never managed to deliver the stock after taking the money.

Fraud Worth $24 Million In Bitcoin Exposes Prominent Names In Thailand

A cryptocurrency investment scam in Thailand has gained international attention as the country’s Crime Suppression Division (CSD) sought eight arrest warrants, including two siblings of the famous Thai actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit, who may face money laundering charges for having his bank account receive $630,000 worth of Baht from the scam. The 27-year old soap actor told the authorities his elder brother, Prinya Jaravit, was using his bank account.

Prinya, the alleged mastermind, was arrested and is now on bail. Prominent investor Prasit Srisuwan, who is abroad but also subject of an arrest warrant, told in a press conference that he was a victim instead of a culprit. He will be charged with fraud, according to CSD deputy commander Chakrit Sawasdee, who argued that the broker took the $24 million worth of Bitcoin from Saarimaa but never delivered the 500 million shares in DNA 2002 at 0.50 baht each that he was supposed to acquire. Saarimaa and his Thai girlfriend Chonnikan Kaeokaseeonly received only 345 million shares, prompting them to file a complaint with the police in January 2018.

At the press conference, the stockbroker explained that following the complaint earlier this year he lost credibility and reputation among peers and clients. He said he asked a retired law enforcement agent, Capt Thammanat Prompao to convince Prinya to deliver the remaining 155 million shares to Saarimaa. The 345 million shares already received were transferred in two tranches in November 2017.

“This case is complicated. We had to carefully examine documents and trace the money trail. For the money laundering charge, we are verifying the amount of money with commercial banks only in the accounts of the siblings and their family and relatives. The money needs to be frozen and brought back to the victims”, said Deputy Commander Sawasdee.

Last week, Thai authorities summonsed Prasit and seven other suspects. The bitcoin scam gang allegedly exchanged Saarimaa’s bitcoin for fiat currency and then laundered the money through a number of bank accounts. The CSD has frozen over 50 bank accounts and seized $5.27 million worth of plots of land connected to the scam. Prinya’s frozen accounts were holding a total of $3.3 million. His sister’s accounts held more than $4.2 million linked to the bitcoin scam.

 

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