Bank of Thailand Says Crypto Not to Blame in $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has issued a statement providing further clarification on a recent $24 million Bitcoin fraud taking place between a Thai actor, staff at 3 Thai banks, and a duped Finnish investor.

27-year-old Jiratpist Jaravijit was arrested earlier this month for money laundering charges after tricking a Finnish investor into putting 797 million baht (~$23 million) into a fake cryptocurrency investing company. News of the scam first broke out when Finnish nationals Aarni Otava Saarimaa and Chonnikan Kaeoali reported to the Thai Crime Supression Division (CSD) that they had been swindled into sending Bitcoin to Thai nationals for reinvestment in other companies using the cryptocurrency Dragon Coin.

The plot has since thickened as police have added numerous names to the list of suspects likely to have been involved in the scam including staff members at Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikonbank—three of Thailand’s largest financial institutions.

Police became suspicious of the activity going on in the aforementioned banks when several employees “failed to report money transfers of 2 million baht or higher, a serious violation of the bank rules,” reports the Bangkok Post. “Staff are required to inform the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) when sums of this value change hands.”

Another suspect in the case is Stock Exchange of Thailand whale Prasit Srisuwan, who is believed to have taken a share of the stolen cryptocurrency.

“Mr Prasit is trying to negotiate a settlement with the two victims after the financial whiz was accused of receiving a portion of the money (66.5 million baht) from them to purchase shares in a company on their behalf,” one source told the Bangkok Post.

The BoT has stated that although the crime is clearly serious, it did not occur “during crypto trading”, reports Cryptoglobe. The case has been dubbed a “misuse of money” and shouldn’t be considered the latest crypto-scam.

Finnish investor Aarni Otava Saarimaa believed the suspects had stored the stolen cryptocurrency in electronic wallets when he filed the complaint, but it now appears the suspects had secretly sold all their coins for cash.

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