Bitcoin theft fugitive's Thai passport revoked after no show

Bitcoin theft fugitive's Thai passport revoked after no show

Police say the passport of fugitive Prinya Jaravijit (inset) has been revoked. He is accused of stealing bitcoins worth 797 million baht from Finnish investor Aarni Saarimaa, right, through his investment proposals. The victim and his Thai business partner Chonnikan Kaewkasee, centre, filed their complaint with police in January.
Police say the passport of fugitive Prinya Jaravijit (inset) has been revoked. He is accused of stealing bitcoins worth 797 million baht from Finnish investor Aarni Saarimaa, right, through his investment proposals. The victim and his Thai business partner Chonnikan Kaewkasee, centre, filed their complaint with police in January.

The Foreign Ministry has revoked the passport of fugitive Prinya Jaravijit, believed to be in the United States and the prime suspect in the theft of bitcoins said to be worth 797 million baht from a Finnish investor, according to the Crime Suppression Division.

Deputy commander Pol Col Chakrit Sawasdee said on Wednesday the Foreign Ministry had cancelled Mr Prinya's passport at the CSD's request.

He had instructed Mr Prinya to turn himself in by Monday, but the suspect had contacted him to say he was unable to travel to Thailand because his passport had been revoked. He was working out his return with the Thai embassy in the US.

Pol Col Chakrit said that if Mr Prinya remained in the US, his stay there would be illegal because he now had no valid passport.

The deputy commander said the remaining suspects were all members of the Jaravijit family. The other suspects - investor Prasit Srisuwan and businessman Chakrit Ahmad -  had already made a compensation settlement with Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa.

Next week police would charge Mr Prinya's parents and elder brother with money-laundering. They had received money from Mr Prinya and later spent it.

On Tuesday the Anti-Money Laundering Office impounded assets worth 210 million baht from Mr Prinya's family and other people connected to the case. Frozen assets included those of actor Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit, Mr Prinya's younger brother, who was first arrested in the case.

Mr Prinya, 35, is accused of luring Mr Saarimaa into transferring 5,564 bitcoins to his group for the purchase of the shares of three firms -- Expay Software, NX Chain Inc and DNA 2002 Plc -- and another digital currency called Dragon coins, with a promise of high investment returns.

Mr Saarima, 22, transferred the bitcoins to Mr Prinya, who allegedly did not spend all the money on the agreed investments, but stole much of it.

The Finnish investor, together with Thai businesswoman Chonnikan Kaewkasee, complained to the CSD in January that they were defrauded of bitcoins worth 797 million baht by Mr Prinya and his group.

Crime Suppression Division police began an investigation and found that Mr Prinya's group had used money transferred into their bank accounts to purchase blocks of land in the names of Mr Prinya and other suspects.


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