Tougher Ufun charges pending

Tougher Ufun charges pending

Gay rights activist Nathee Teerarojanapong (second from right), Thana Wongkham (centre) and Somchai Sirilertsuwan (black T-shirt) are among the Ufun pyramid scheme suspects who will face more charges related to transnational crime. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Gay rights activist Nathee Teerarojanapong (second from right), Thana Wongkham (centre) and Somchai Sirilertsuwan (black T-shirt) are among the Ufun pyramid scheme suspects who will face more charges related to transnational crime. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

Police will press more charges that carry harsher punishments against suspects in the Malaysia-based Ufun pyramid scheme because they say it is a transnational crime covering 13 countries in Africa, Asia, North America, Australia and Europe.

Assistant police chief Suwira Songmetta said on Friday that the scam had been plotted in Malaysia and spread to Australia, Britain, China, France, Germany, Guinea, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States. Ufun executives had given lectures to lure victims in many countries, he added.

As the damage involved many countries, police intend to add charges relating to transational crime. Consequently, wrongdoers would be liable to prison terms ranging from four to 15 years and/or fines from 80,000 to 300,000 baht, Pol Lt Gen Suwira said.

Authorities this week arrested three more suspects, supposedly while they were preparing to flee the country.

Police plan to inform 10 suspects currently in prison about the additional charges on Monday. They will also seek warrants for the arrest of more suspects, and will send their investigative report to prosecutors on June 15, he said.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is currently tracing 35 financial transactions from Ufun networks to 10 countries between January 2014 and April 28, 2015, said Pol Lt Col Pakorn Sucheevakun, director of the DSI's Technology and Information Inspection Centre.

Ufun Property (Thailand) Co was found to have carried out most of the transactions. Authorities are now checking the financial transactions of 40 suspects facing arrest warrants. The examination of the transactions should be completed next week, he said.


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