Thai stockbroker pleads innocence in $24M crypto scam

Thai stockbroker pleads innocence in $24M crypto scam

A Thai stock investor who has been linked to the $24 million cryptocurrency fraud case has claimed to be victim of the scam himself.

The Bangkok Post reported that Prasit Srisuwan called a press conference, in which he disclosed that he was only a facilitator and that his roles were restricted to brokerage duties between Finnish national Aarni Otava Saarimaa and DNA 2002 Plc, the company owned by Prinya Jaravijit, who authorities identified as the chief suspect in the case.

Several weeks ago, Saarimaa filed a complaint against Jaravijit who he claimed was in cohorts with his brother, Thai actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, and sister to fraudulently trick foreigners into shelling out funds in cryptocurrencies which they said will be used to buy shares in companies investing in an entertainment token called Dragon Coin. The suspects amassed THB797 million (almost $24 million) from the investors, who never received any dividends afterwards. No shareholders’ meetings ever took place either.

Srisuwan told reporters that he met the victim through Jaravijit, who set up a deal with Saarimaa and his girlfriend, Chonnikan Kaeokasee, to invest in crypto– and blockchain-related businesses “with good growth prospects.”

Authorities, however, were sceptical of Srisuwan’s story. According to Charkit Sawasdee, deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), the stockbroker was among the nine people who will be charged with fraud in connection with the incident.

The CSD revealed it was difficult to establish the location of the funds since most of the crypto was already converted into fiat currency; however, authorities has frozen more than 50 bank accounts and seized plots of land worth $5.27 million that were linked to the scam.

Prinya, who has been on the run, had over $3.3 million in his frozen accounts, while his sister’s account held more than $4.2 million, authorities said.

With his reputation at stake, Srisuwan said he plans to cooperate with the police on the case.

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