Actor's sister surrenders to CSD in bitcoin scam case

Actor's sister surrenders to CSD in bitcoin scam case

Suphitcha Jaravijit at the Crime Suppression Division, Bangkok, on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)
Suphitcha Jaravijit at the Crime Suppression Division, Bangkok, on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)

The older sister of actor Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit turned herself in at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) on Wednesday to face charges arising from an alleged investment scam in which a Finnish businessman lost almost 800 million baht worth of bitcoin.

Suphitcha Jaravijit, 32, accompanied by her lawyer, surrendered at 7.15 am, CSD deputy commander Chakrit Sawasdee said. 

She was questioned about money she received from her older brother, Prinya Jaravijit, the suspected ringleader of the scheme. 

Mr Prinya, 35, is believed to have fled to the United States. Mr Jiratpisit, 27, was arrested at a film set in Chatuchak district on July 26 after he was also found to have received some of the money. 

The trio face charges of conspiring to launder money. 

Aarni Otava Saarimaa, the 22-year-old Finn, and his business partner, Chonnikan Kaeosali, lodged a police complaint in January this year. 

According to the complaint, they believed they were buying shares in three companies and investing in a casino and new cryptocurrency known as Dragon Coins, but had seen no returns at all on the money they put in.

Mr Saarimaa was said to have transferred bitcoin worth 797 million baht to the alleged scammers. 

CSD commander Maitree Chimcherd said later that Ms  Suphitcha was questioned for about seven hours.

"Ms Suphitcha was crying throughout the interrogation and denying knowledge of any public fraud. But she admitted to receiving money transfers from her brother Prinya and spending it on a property business. She handled the money on the instructions of the brother," Pol Maj Gen Maitree said.

The CSD commander quoted Ms Suphitcha as saying that her brother ordered all money withdrawals and transfers, including transactions for land trades for money-laundering. Proceeds from land sales were transferred to the elder brother.

Pol Maj Gen Maitree said investigators would call their parents in for questioning this week because Mr Prinya had transferred 90 million baht to them. 

Police would also seek warrants for the arrest of 5-6 friends and relatives of Mr Prinya for allegedly receiving and transferring money.

The CSD took Ms Suphitcha to the Criminal Court to seek an extension of her detention. She did not answer reporters' questions. Her lawyer said she denied all charges and would seek release on bail, offering 2 million baht as security.

The court later released her on bail of 2 million baht and prohibited her from leaving the country without its permission.

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