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Popular Thai Actor and Siblings Plead Not Guilty in $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:10 PM
Jimmy Aki
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:10 PM

Three Thai siblings who are being prosecuted for defrauding a 21-year-old Finnish investor of bitcoin worth 797 million baht (approximately US$24 million) in the Criminal Court of Bangkok have pleaded “not guilty” for the charges.

At the hearing, prosecutors accused the siblings, Prinya, Supitcha and popular Thai actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit of convincing Finnish investor Aamai Otava Saarimaa to invest in Expay Software Co, the DragonCoin token and to buy 500 million shares in DNA (2002) Co. Saarimaa, who felt he had found a legitimate opportunity to grow his portfolio, did as he was told by transferring bitcoins to the sibling’s wallet address, the Bangkok Post  reports.

On getting the funds, the siblings failed to hold their side of the bargain. Instead, they decided to divert the funds into a private account owned by the family, which was later used to invest it in landed properties in Thailand. Not receiving the profit he was promised, Saarimaa went ahead to complain to the Thai Crime Suppression Division (CSD). This led to the confiscation of the assets owned by the Jaravijit family.

The assets, which were seized by Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) included bank accounts and plots of lands belonging to members of the family. The assets are expected to be confiscated for a 90 days period.

Jirapisit and Supitcha were arrested in August and then released when their bail requirements were perfected. Prinya, who happens to be the eldest in the family, and the alleged mastermind of the fraud, managed to escape arrest by fleeing to the U.S.

Prior to his arrest in October 2018, the CSD had asked Prinya to make himself available for interrogation in September, but he failed to show up, which led to a Surrender Order, which was issued, informing Prinya that extradition proceedings would be initiated if he continued to ignore the authorities.

His passport was subsequently revoked, forcing his return back to Thailand in October 2018, where he was arrested and is being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison without bail.

Featured image from Shutterstock.