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Background to the Forex-3D swindle

Forex-3D is the name of the foreign exchange futures investment scheme created by a forex brokerage company, “RMS Familia”. It was established in 2015, with a young man, named Apiruk Kothi, as the chief executive officer.

The company advertised, inviting members of the public to invest in forex futures by offering returns of about 10% per month on a required minimum investment of 5,000 baht.

Due to the attractive returns, many were attracted and invested in the scheme. Like all previous Ponzi schemes, it crashed due to liquidity problems. The investors were initially paid handsomely, as promised, prompting them to invest more.

At the same time, the investors were promised another 5% commission if they managed to persuade new investors to join the Forex-3D scheme.

Meanwhile, Apiruk built up his personal profile, to enhance his credibility, by recruiting several entertainment celebrities to act as brokers and to persuade others to invest in the business. He is reported to have undergone several plastic surgery procedures to change his appearance and allegedly spent his clients’ money on buying expensive cars.

During the peak of the business, tens of thousands investors are reported to have joined the scheme, to the tune of tens of billions of baht.

In 2019, however, the company started to experience liquidity problems and began to default on paying returns to some customers, as new investments reduced and they could no longer cover all the returns to investors.

The liquidity problem intensified, until many of the investors decided to file complaints with the Justice Ministry, urging the Department of Special Investigation to look into the company.

Apiruk fled to a neighbouring country in 2019, but was arrested by DSI officials at his expensive Thonglor condominium when he sneaked back to Thailand two years later.

As the investigation widened, more people suspected of involvement in the fraudulent business were summoned for questioning, including entertainment celebrity Savika Chaiyadej, aka “Pinky”, her mother and elder brother.

Savika was reported to have been seen in public with Apiruk on several occasions, including at the launch of his RKK auto showroom back in 2018.

Savika, her mother and brother were among 19 suspects indicted for defrauding the public and violating the Computer Crime Act on Thursday. All were denied bail by the Criminal Court and are being held on remand.

According to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, 9,804 investors have lodged complaints against the company since 2019, demanding compensation for damage estimated at 1.9 billion baht.

About 570 million baht in assets, which include condominium units, land title deeds, cars and bank accounts, have been impounded. 25 suspects, including Apiruk, have been indicted.

16 more people are to be questioned by DSI officials for alleged involvement in the scam.

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