Kingdom to divide AlphaBay assets
Thai agents and their US counterparts are preparing to divide assets worth about 1.6 billion baht seized from the illicit trading site AlphaBay, which was one of the largest of its kind on the dark web, according to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG).
Jumpon Phansumrit, director-general of the International Affairs Department, yesterday said the case, involving Alexandre Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian, ended after he hanged himself in July 2017 with a towel in a cell while waiting to be extradited to the US.
Cazes created AlphaBay in 2014 to facilitate the trade of illicit goods, such as narcotics, firearms and pirated personal data, Mr Jumpon said.
Payments by members were conducted using Bitcoin for convenience and protection, he added. US agents had issued 16 warrants against Cazes with over 16 charges and coordinated with Thai authorities on the case, Mr Jumpon said.
Prayuth Petchkhun, deputy OAG spokesman, said the Taling Chan Court on March 28 ruled to seize assets worth 413 million baht from Cazes's group as requested by a prosecutor.
These assets reportedly included houses worth about 100 million baht in Bangkok, a 200-million-baht resort villa in Phuket, a 45-million-baht Lamborghini Aventador, 10-million-baht Porsche Panamera and 46 million baht in bank deposits. Including the 911 Bitcoins (about 1.24 billion baht) seized from Cazes, the assets are worth 1.65 billion baht in total, Mr Payuth said.
Mr Jumpon said the District Court for the Eastern District of California in the US also carried out seizures of assets from Cazes and his accomplices in foreign countries, such as Cyprus, Liechtenstein and Antigua and Barbuda.
Regarding the splitting of the assets, Mr Jumpon said Thailand has not set the criteria to do so under the Act on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters 1992 as the Cazes case was the first major case of its kind in the country.
Seized assets will be auctioned off and revenues will be collected, he said, before negotiation are held with US counterparts over the split.