Thailand Police Arrest Prime Suspect of $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud Scheme
Originally published on: CCN
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October 12, 2018
The alleged mastermind of the bitcoin fraud scheme which saw a Finnish investor lose 5,564 bitcoins in Thailand has been arrested.
Prinya Jaravijit, who is the principal suspect in swindling Finnish national Aarni Otava Saarimma out of bitcoin worth 797 million baht (approximately US$24 million) was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on October 11, according to the Bangkok Post. The alleged mastermind of the fraudulent scheme had been living in the United States where he fled to after the arrest of his younger brother, Thai television actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit aka Boom, who was also implicated in the conspiracy.
After interrogation by Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division, Prinya was taken to court early Friday where the police raised objections to his bail arguing that he was a flight risk. Prinya faces two charges of colluding in fraud and colluding in money-laundering.
Surrender Order Ignored
The arrest comes nearly a month after Prinya was issued with a surrender order. As reported by CCN, the Criminal Suppression Division had given Prinya until September 17 to surrender but he remained at large. Prior to the surrender order, Prinya had been asked to avail himself for interrogation on September 14 but he failed to show up. This led the Crime Suppression Division to issue a warning to the effect that extradition proceedings would be initiated if Prinya continued to disregard summons.
“The suspect was then asked to come in on Monday and if he still ignores it, relevant agencies will be contacted to try to bring him back to face prosecution,” the deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division, Chakrit Sawasdee, said then.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Thailand’s foreign ministry had revoked Prinya’s passport and this was done at the request of the Crime Suppression Division. This rendered Prinya’s stay in the United States untenable since he wasn’t in possession of a valid passport. With his passport revoked, his travel back to his homeland was facilitated by the Thai embassy in the United States.
All in the Family
While the case in which Prinya and his accomplices are accused of inviting the Finnish investor to put his money in a range of investments including publicly listed companies had initially even roped in a prominent Thai stock trader, Prasit Srisuwan and a technology entrepreneur, Chakris Ahmad, now the suspects’ list is largely composed of members of the Jaravijit family. This is after Saarimaa reached a settlement with the two businessmen.
Besides his younger celebrity brother, Jiratpisit, other members of the Jaravijit family who are now suspects include Prinya’s younger sister, Supitcha. Additionally, Prinya’s parents and his older brother, Tanasit, are scheduled to appear in court next week to answer to charges of money laundering.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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