A 25-year-old billionaire cryptocurrency has lost more than 5,500 bitcoins in an alleged investment fraud in Thailand that attracted public attention due to the alleged involvement of a Thai film actor.
According to a media report from Bangkok Post Monday, a group of Thais approached and urged Finnish businessman Aarni Otava Saarimaa in June 2017 for investing in several Thai titles, a casino in Macao and a new one cryptocurrency called Dragon Coin.
The group has touted that at the time of issue, dragon money can be used at the casino, the report states. They also brought Saarimaa to the Macau casino to show the legitimacy of the plan. Saarimaa, which bought the scheme, transferred a total of 5,564 bitcoins to the group, the report said.
However, having failed to see any yield from the investment every few months, Saarimaa filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) of Thailand in January together with its local business partner who believed that the investment plan was a scam.
Later the CSD began an investigation and asserted in the report that the group had not made investments for Saarimaa, but instead liquidated all the bitcoins in Thai baht, which were deposited in seven bank accounts.
Although it is not clear when the group sold the bitcoin assets, the CSD said that the scammers have made profits of almost 800 million baht, or about 24 million dollars.
And, after a months-long investigation, the CSD suspected that Thai film actor Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit was involved in the plan and arrested him last Wednesday.
In addition, the CSD claimed that the brother of the actor Prinya Jaravijit is suspected of being the "ringleader" of the scheme, who had left Thailand for the United States through South Korea. The CSD is now working to collaborate with the US authorities to track down the main suspect, the report says
Thai baht image via Shutterstock