Business 11 October 2018

Dennis Wafula

Thai authorities revoke passport of suspect in $24M crypto scam

A suspect involved in a Thailand cryptocurrency scam is unable to return home after the Foreign Ministry of Thailand revoked his passport, Bangkok Post reported. This has prevented him to return home to face charges.

Prinya Jaravijit is now illegally staying in the United States, after the Thai government agency revoked his passport. According to the report, Jaravijit is allegedly the mastermind behind a big cryptocurrency scam that defrauded a Finnish investor out of $24 million in 2017.

Police claimed that Jaravijit had worked together with members of his family to defraud Aarni Otava Saarima and his business partner. The suspects had lured the two into investing BTC in a fake investment scheme. It is believed that the scammers used three gambling companies to operate the scheme, which was allegedly perpetrated using a crypto token called Dragon Coin.

The alleged scammers took the investors to a Macau-based casino for the transaction, claiming that the casino was accepting these tokens. The investors transferred the agreed amount of BTC to the suspected scammers’ wallets; however, they began to worry when they did not receive returns for their money. They also did not get any shareholder papers or proof of investments in Dragon Coin. The Finnish investor decided to report the matter to the authorities in January.

When the case was reported, Jaravijit was in the United States. Authorities asked him to surrender, giving him until September 17 to comply with the order. However, Jaravijit failed to do so, causing authorities to revoke his passport. Reports showed that he will soon be extradited to Thailand in order to face the charges against him.

According to reports, the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) confiscated funds worth $6.4 million from Jaravijit’s family and other people who were suspected to be involved in the matter this past Tuesday. The family and the accomplices will be charged next week with money laundering.

Other people believed to be part of the operation include an investor, Prasit Srisuwan, and a businessman, Chakrit Ahmed. The two have reportedly agreed on a compensation plan with the Finnish investor.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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