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Bt800m bitcoin fraud

POLICE have cracked down on an investment scam allegedly involving a famous actor, his siblings and some prominent Thai investors, after a foreign victim reported financial losses of almost Bt800 million.

The case raised concerns about financial fraud, notably in relation to complicated digital assets, as authorities have indicated that such crimes are growing. Jiratpisit Jaravijit, a 27-year-old actor, was arrested at a filming location in Bangkok yesterday.

“We have found solid evidence against his gang,” Crimes Suppression Division (CSD) chief Pol Maj-General Maitree Chimcherd said.

The CSD chief said arrest warrants had already been issued for Jiratpisit and his older siblings Parinya and Supitcha. The actor’s siblings have not been arrested yet because they are overseas.

“We have already alerted the Immigration Bureau,” Maitree said.

The CSD began investigating the siblings after Aarni Otava Saarimaa, a Finnish man, lodged a complaint on January 30.

“The gang lured the victim to transfer 5,564 bitcoins [equivalent to about Bt797 million] to its e-wallet, claiming the payment was for the shares of three firms, including DNA 2002 Public Company Limited. But he never received the shares after making the transfer,” Maitree said.

The CSD chief said the bitcoins were converted into Thai currency and then transferred to the bank account of the siblings, before the sum was divided among different gang members.

“Apart from these three, there are four other suspects – most of whom are well-known businesspeople,” Maitree said.

CSD deputy commander Pol Colonel Chakrit Sawasdee said the authorities had already seized land worth more than Bt200 million owned by Jiratpisit’s siblings, as investigation suggests the plots might have been bought with the ill-gotten gains.

“Next we will summon his parents for questioning,” he said.

An informed source said Jiratpisit had denied any wrongdoing, and was insisting that the bank account under investigation was actually managed by his older brother.

According to Maitree, the Jaravijit family is of good financial standing and social status in Chon Buri province. However, evidence suggested that the actor’s older brother, Parinya, had engaged in dubious transactions and encouraged his siblings to join in.

nation

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