Thailand Police Seek More Arrests in $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud

Thailand's Crime Suppression Division (CSD) has sought arrest warrants of six more people in an ongoing $24 million Bitcoin scam case.

The law enforcement agency has confirmed that among the six wanted individuals, two are siblings of the famous Thai actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit. One of them is the elder brother of Jaravijit, Prinya Jaravijit, while another is a renowned stock exchange investor, Prasit Srisuwan. Police had already arrested Jiratpisit for his alleged involvement in the scam. However, the Criminal Court granted him a bail set at nearly $60,000, believing "he is not a flight risk." The court also noted there is no evidence that Jiratpisit joined other suspects to lure the victim.

The 27-year old soap actor, however, would be facing money laundering charges solely because of the money trail that led authorities to his account.

Jaravijit has denied allegations against him, but evidence shows a different picture. BangkokPost reports that CSD investigation has unearthed evidence that links $630,000 worth of Baht from the scam to Jaravijit's bank account. However, the actor has pointed fingers at his brother, saying the accused at large was using his bank account all this time.

Six Accused Received $22.3 million in Total

The CSD suspects Prinya of leading the Bitcoin scam. The reports find that he had invested in real estate in Thailand using the tainted money, and his bank accounts - now frozen - received $3.3 million in total. Suphitcha, on the other hand, received over $4.2 million from the scam.

Including Jaravijoit siblings, the Bitcoin scam gang received around $22.3 million in total via Bitcoin. The money was a part of investments made by Aarni Otav Saarimaa, a Finnish national and Thai businesswoman Chonnikan Kaeosali, into three dubious companies, a casino and a cryptocurrency project called Dragon Coins. The investors believed Dragon Coins would be used at a major casino in Macao. Prasit Srisuwan, with his high-profile trading career at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, is believed to be instrumental towards luring victims into the gang's HYIP scheme.

After receiving the digital currency units from investors, the gang sold them for fiat currencies and transferred 747 million baht in total into various bank accounts. However, the victims claim they lost 797 million baht. There are possibilities that some of the Bitcoins have not been converted to fiat yet. It makes money trailing difficult for CSD, which has already termed this case as "one of the most challenging cases" they have investigated - ever.

The authorities have already seized 14 plots of land worth $5.27 million, and have frozen over 50 bank accounts connected to the scheme.

Thai police cap image from Shutterstock.

Tags: thailand
Yashu Gola @whoisyashu

New Delhi-based Yashu Gola has been working as a cryptocurrency analyst/journalist since 2013. He is an information technology graduate, a cryptography junkie, a filmmaking enthusiast, and an avid reader of Jon Erickson, Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, and Isaac Asimov.

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