Bangkok Post reports that Aarni Otava Saarimaa, a Finnish crypto millionaire, has a lot fewer bitcoins to his name following a run-in with a group of scammers in Thailand. The group was able to convince Saarimaa to "invest" a total of 5,564.4 bitcoins, worth about $24 million at the time, but they actually ended up converting it into currency and pocketing the cash.
Saarimaa thought he was getting shares in three different companies, as well as a casino in Thailand and a cryptocurrency called "Dragon Coins" in July of last year, and the alleged scammers even went so far as to take him on a tour of the casino where the Dragon Coins would be spent. But after an extended period of no returns on the investments he turned in a criminal complaint, and for the last six months, Thailand's Crime Suppression Division has been on the case.
Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit is one of the alleged scammers, since one of the bank accounts to have received the aforementioned currency is allegedly linked to him. Jaravijit is an actor by trade, and he was reportedly arrested by authorities while filming on location in Bangkok. His two siblings Prinya (who has reportedly fled to the United States) and Suphitcha Jaravijit (who is scheduled to turn himself in in the next few days) are also wanted in connection with the crime, facing charges of collusion to launder money and possibly fraud. Deputy commander Pol Col Chakrit Sawasdee of the CSD had this to say to the press over what will happen next:
"For the money laundering charge, we are verifying the amount of money with commercial banks only in the accounts of the siblings and their family and relatives … The money needs to be frozen and brought back to the victims. When it is fraud, the complainants and the accused can talk and have arbitration. However, money laundering is a crime that cannot be bargained away."
Now, the CDS says it is gathering evidence to arrest six additional suspects in the bitcoin scam.