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Finn ‘satisfied’ after bitcoin scandal talks

BANGKOK: Finnish businessman Aarni Otava Saarimaa, who lost millions of baht in an alleged high-profile bitcoin scam, is now “satisfied” after negotiating a settlement deal with two key suspects who yesterday (Aug 28) acknowledged fraud charges pressed by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 29 August 2018, 09:14AM

Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa (right) and his Thai business partner Chonnikan Kaeosali arrive at the Crime Suppression Division. Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham

Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa (right) and his Thai business partner Chonnikan Kaeosali arrive at the Crime Suppression Division. Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham

“The two sides signed their joint agreement as evidence after talks,” deputy CSD chief Col Chakrit Sawasdee said after meeting Mr Saarimaa and the two Thai suspects – well-known stock trader Prasit Srisuwan and Chakris Ahmad, a major shareholder of Expay Software Co.

Mr Prasit said he had been ready to report to the DSI since Monday (Aug 27) but had to wait for Mr Saarimaa so they could hold the negotiations together with police.

Mr Saarimaa is “my friend and work colleague”, Mr Prasit said, claiming they both fell victim to the scam, allegedly masterminded by Prinya Jaravijit, a prime suspect who has reportedly fled to the United States during the Department of Special Investigation’s probe.

The two sides declined to elaborate what they discussed but signalled the outcome met their demands.

“My talks with them [Mr Prasit and Mr Chakris] turned out to be very satisfactory but I cannot give any details now,” Mr Saarimaa said.

If they can reach a settlement, which is allowed by law in fraud cases, Mr Saarimaa can withdraw his complaints against the two suspects, Col Chakrit said.

The Finnish investor, together with Thai businesswoman Chonnikan Kaeosali, complained to the CSD earlier about losing a total of B797 million to Prinya’s group, which allegedly lured the two into making huge investments by buying the shares of three firms including, Mr Chakris’ Expay Software Co, last June.

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Ms Kaeosali and Mr Saarimaa were also told to pay money in the form of bitcoins, a popular virtual currency, which was later secretly withdrawn by the suspects, according to investigators.

CSD investigators will acknowledge the fraud charges today (Aug 29) for Prinya and his two younger brothers – Jiratpisit and Tanasit.

If Prinya, who disappeared after the scam, fails to appear, the officers will seek a court warrant for his arrest.

Prinya and Jiratpitsit have been already charged with money laundering.

The CSD is also considering pressing the same money-laundering charges against the parents of Prinya after questioning them on Monday.

The couple’s bank accounts held B90mn allegedly transferred by Prinya, although the two insisted on their innocence during questioning.

Read original story here.



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