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Prime Suspect in $24 Million Bitcoin Scam Arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

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BANGKOK -The prime suspect in the network that allegedly swindled Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa out of almost 800 million baht in bitcoins was arrested after returning from the US on Wednesday night the Bangkok Post reports.

According to newspaper, Prinya Jaravijit, 35, (centre above) arrived in Bangkok on a flight from South Korea en route from the U.S., where he allegedly spent two months after his brother’s detention in connection with the same crime.

Shortly after the arrest Jaravijit, who was wanted on charges of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, was delivered to local police where he was questioned. His lawyers are reportedly preparing to apply for bail.

In January Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa along with his Thai business partner Chonnikan Kaewkasee complained to the Thai Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

They claimed that Jaravajit along with six other suspects had duped them into investing $24 million worth of BTC into a scheme involving three companies and gambling-focused crypto token Dragon Coin (DRG).

His arrest came after police said on Wednesday that Mr Prinya’s passport had been revoked by the Foreign Ministry.

Police stressed that if he stayed in the US he would be doing so illegally, leading to more charges and deportation.

Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa, with Thai businesswoman Chonnikan Kaewkasee, complained to the CSD in January about losing bitcoin worth 797 million baht to Mr Prinya and his group.

Pol Col Chakrit said investigators have again summonsed Mr Prinya’s parents — Wisit and Lertchatkamol Jaravijit — as well as Mr Prinya’s older brother, Tanasit, to acknowledge money laundering charges next Wednesday.

The parents were said to have received 90 million baht wired from Mr Prinya.

He said Ms Lertchatkamol received money from Mr Prinya before passing it to her husband.

Mr Prinya also transferred money he received to Mr Tanasit, who distributed it to others, according to Pol Col Chakrit, who said this was money laundering.

Police found Mr Prinya’s group invited Mr Saarimaa to invest 92.69 million baht in Expay Software, 440 million baht in Dragon Coin and 264.78 million baht in companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

The syndicate allegedly did not spend the money on the agreed investments, but stole most of it.

Charges were withdrawn against stock trader Prasit Srisuwan and Expay shareholder Chakris Ahmad last month after a settlement was reached.

Source: Bangkok Post, Cointelegraph