The Bangkok Marina Resort & Spa on Friday agreed to turn over to police 112.4 million baht funnelled through the alleged Ufun Store pyramid scheme to buy 100 townhouses at the under-construction Samut Prakan development.
The refund, reported today by Thai media, came after police seized the 100 Bang Bo district housing units worth 165 million baht Thursday evening.
Matichon reported Friday that the international online retailer had paid 95 million baht in deposits for the 100 units priced at 1.65 million each. It also had taken a 29% stake in the Bangkok Marine project worth 17.4 million baht.
Assistant national police chief Suwira Songmeta led a team of local police and Consumer Protection Police Division officers Thursday to inspect the project on Sukhumvit Road in tambon Khlong Dan. Authorities then took ownership of the townhouses.
Pol Lt Gen Suwira said the two- and three-storey homes were seized so the Anti-Money Laundering Office could auction them off with proceeds to be used to compensate victims of the pyramid scheme allegedly run by the international online retailer.
Police also impounded two construction cranes at Bina Puri pending investigation, said the assistant police chief.
Bangkok Marina was given the option of letting police take over the properties or turning over the 165 million paid for the properties. If the money was refunded to authorities, the units would be removed from the list of Ufun assets, Matichon reported.
The seizure of the units followed a police search at the head office of Bina Puri Co in Bangkok's Bang Na area on Wednesday, which confirmed Ufun's purchase of the property.
There are 800 units at the site of which 100 were purchased by Ufun, said Pol Lt Gen Suwira.
Police said they received full cooperation from the project's developer, whose executives insisted they were not involved in Ufun's alleged pyramid scheme. Developers said Ufun had used the Bangkok Marina brand for commercial gains without their consent, said Pol Lt Gen Suwira.
Authorities seized documents from the developer for examination to determine whether it had been involved in the scheme or not. Pol Lt Gen Suwira also said authorities would investigate the assets of the local operation of Bina Puri, one of the largest construction firms in Malaysia.
Earlier, Pol Lt Gen Suwira had said damages caused by Ufun Store's alleged transnational Ponzi scheme were estimated to be as high as 38 billion baht. The Ufun Store scam has allegedly swindled 120,000 people, and more victims are coming forward to file complaints with police.
Last week, a group of 110 victims, who said they were lured into doing business with Ufun, lodged complaints with police against the company, claiming the executives deceived them out of 35 million baht.