The Finnish businessman who lost 5,564 bitcoins, worth US$24 million at the time, in a fraudulent scheme in Thailand has begun talks with some of the key suspects.
According to the Bangkok Post, Aarni Otavi Saarimaa is negotiating a settlement deal with Prasit Srisuwan, a high-profile stocks trader and Chakris Ahmad, a tech investor. The two Thai nationals are key suspects in the scam.
Thai law allows settlements in fraud cases and in the event that they reach a deal, Saarimaa could withdraw the criminal complaints against Srisuwan and Ahmad. Saarimaa, however, refused to offer detailed information on what was discussed.
“My talks with them [the two suspects] turned out to be very satisfactory but I cannot give any details now,” said Saarimaa after the meeting.
Gone With the Wind
Alongside other suspects, Srisuwan and Ahmad are accused of luring Saarimaa into investing 5,564 bitcoins (which at the time were worth 797 million baht or approximately US$24 million) in three companies namely ExpaySoftware (of which Ahmad is a major shareholder), NX Chain Inc and DNA 2002 (which is linked to the alleged mastermind of the fraud, Prinya Jaravijit). Saarimaa did not, however, get the promised stake after parting with his cryptocurrency.
After the meeting, Prasit, who described Saarimaa as a ‘friend’ and a ‘work colleague’, repeated his claims that he was innocent and had been duped by Prinya. Less than a fortnight ago, Srisuwan addressed a press conference in which he claimed that his role was restricted to offering brokerage services to the Finnish national and DNA 2002 Plc, as CCN reported.
After Saarimaa reported the matter to the police in January this year, the case has experienced a flurry of twists and turns especially in the last few weeks. Though Prinya reportedly fled Thailand and is said to be hiding in the United States, his siblings were arrested and released on bail. This included his younger brother, Jiratpisit Jaravijit, a television and commercials actor, as well as his sister, Supitcha Jaravijit.
At the time of their arrest, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office had frozen accounts of some of the suspects. As CCN reported at the time, Prinya’s account was found to be in possession of US$3.3 million while Supitcha’s allegedly had approximately US$4.2 million. Jiratpisit’s bank account had the lowest amount at US$649,000.
Earlier this week parents of the three were questioned by Thai police investigating the scam. This had followed reports that Suwit Jaravijit, the father, and Lertchatkamol, the mother, were also beneficiaries of the scam as Prinya allegedly wired proceeds of the fraudulent scheme, around 90 million baht (approximately US$2.75 million), to their bank accounts.
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