Thai Police to Expand $25 Million Bitcoin Theft Case Investigation

  • A young Thai actor was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly defrauding a Finn out of $25 million worth of bitcoin.
  • New information about the case suggests the accused used the funds to purchase shares of a company and land in his own name.
  • Police continue investigating and plan to bring in more suspects for questioning.

On August 10, CryptoGlobe reported on the alleged theft of $25 million worth of bitcoin belonging to a Finnish investor. Two weeks after the arrest of Jiratpisit Jaravijit, the main suspect in the case, the National Post reports the Thai police are about to take their investigations to the next level.

New Information

As covered, it is alleged that Jiratpisit Jaravijit, a soap opera actor, along with his siblings and other suspects, tricked the Finn to send funds to invest in Expay Software Co. and a cryptocurrency-investing company. Subsequently, the bitcoins were converted into the local currency and deposited into accounts by the perpetrators.

It has since been found out that the funds were deposited into 51 bank accounts owned by 7 individuals. have also uncovered documents that show that Jaravijit actually bought shares in said companies. Other documents also show the actor and his siblings bought land near the Thai capital with the funds. The accused has, however, denied having acquired the assets.

New information now suggests some of the Finn’s money was to be invested in  casino in Macau. He is said to have been promised huge returns from said investments as well.

According to details found in court documents, the young actor and his accomplices are being accused of money laundering and fraud involving $25 million worth of bitcoins received from Aarni Otava Saarimaa, the 22-year-old plaintiff from Finland.

Saarimaa, after several fruitless attempts to get the suspects to send him the returns on his investments, filed a complaint in January. Chonnikarn Kaewsalee, Aarni Saaremaa's Thai business partner helped file the complaint.

Warrants have also been issued for the arrest of the main suspect’s accomplices and siblings. Parinya Jaravijit, the actor’s elder brother has since eloped from the country. Police have also made it clear they would be querying more suspects in the case.

Controlling Thailand’s Crypto Space

In a bid to have more oversight and control over the rapidly growing crypto space, the Thai government imposed new crypto regulations in March. Industry specialists have, however, said there hasn’t been any strict enforcement of these new laws.

The governor of the Bank of Thailand, after clarifying the fraud case was about “misuse of money” and not crypto trading, told citizens to avoid jumping into crypto investments without first studying the basics of crypto investments.

It’s crucial that anyone who wants to invest in high-risk assets such as digital currencies and bitcoin educate themselves and fully understand it

Veerathai Santiprahhob

Bitcoin From the 2016 Bitfinex Hack Mysteriously on the Move Again

Little over 30 bitcoins stolen from the prominent cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex back in 2016 have mysteriously started moving once again, even after the arrest of two individuals allegedly involved in the exchange’s security breach.

According to Whale Alert, a large transaction monitor, an initial transaction of 28.39 BTC was made from a wallet associated with the 2016 Bitfinex hack before a second transaction of 2.27 BTC was made. Both went to unknown wallets, with the total amount being transferred coming close to $300,000.

The hackers often move their funds around, presumably in an attempt to launder them so they can cash out. In June 2019, they moved over 172 BTC over a total of five transactions to unknown addresses. In August, around 30.6 BTC, then worth over $350,000, were moved as well.

In total, the hackers stole nearly 120,000 bitcoins from the popular cryptocurrency exchange in 2016. At the time, one bitcoin was trading for around $600, which means they stole roughly $72 million. As the price of the flagship cryptocurrency skyrocketed since then, the 120,000 BTC are now worth over $1 billion.

Taking this into account users on social media started predicting a price cash, as if the hackers were able to cash all of their funds out the price of BTC would certainly drop significantly. To cash out, however, they have to find a way to launder the funds – a challenge at a time in which every liquid cryptocurrency exchange enforces know-your-customer (KYC) checks.

Bitcoin from the 2016 Bitfinex hack moving may be surprising, as Israeli police last year arrested two brothers allegedly involved in the security breach. It’s worth pointing out, however, in the UNUS SED LEO token whitepaper the exchange appeared to give the hackers a chance to return their funds and keep a specific percentage “as a reward for collaborating in finally resolving” the issue.

Referring to past transactions Anneka Dew, Bitfinex’s marketing director, noted they weren’t related to the procedure outlined in the token’s whitepaper.

Featured image via Pixabay.