Thailand’s central bank clarifies that the high-profile Thai crypto fraud case is not due to cryptocurrency trading, but a general misuse of money.
A while ago, Thailand legalized seven cryptocurrencies along with authorizations to seven crypto firms, and the Bank of Thailand has green-lighted commercial banks’ subsidiaries for crypto activities. When a high-profile crypto related fraud case surfaced involving over 5,564 BTC a lot of fingers were pointed. The Thai media has been paying much attention to the case as it also involves a well-known soap actor and model, Jiratpisit Jaravijit, also known as “Boom.”
On August 20, The Thai News Agency reported that Mr. Veerathai Santiprabhob, Governor of Bank of Thailand (BOT) made a statement clarifying that crypto trading is not involved in this particular fraud case. According to him, the Ponzi scheme was not dependant on using cryptocurrencies. He points out that:
“The money is used for the wrong purpose. It is not a fraud that occurred during crypto trading.”
Furthermore, Mr. Veerathai warned the investors to first understand the risks involved in crypto investing due to price volatility and that invest as much as they can afford to lose.
A Finnish bitcoiner and his partner were duped into investing in fraudulent investments including tokens called dragon coins. According to local media, eight scam suspects were summoned on Thursday by the Thai police’s Crime Suppression Division (CSD). Including Boom and members of his family, a former soldier, and two businessmen.
As per a report by Bangkok Post – “a ‘whale’ investor in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) and staff at up to three Thai banks are suspected of being complicit” in the fraud. The names of the country’s three largest bank – Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank were pooled in as “All handled transactions involving part of the swindled money,” The publication quoted the police:
Police said several of the banks’ employees failed to report money transfers of 2 million baht [~US$61,040] or higher, a serious violation of bank rules. Staff are required to inform the Anti Money Laundering Office (Amlo) when sums of this value change hands.
Thailand has recently welcomed government laid cryptocurrency regulations. Seven Crypto firm has been authorized by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Five out the seven firms are exchange firms that legally operate in the country. The regulators are closely reviewing other applications for approval. The seven cryptocurrencies that can be legally traded for the Thai baht are BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, ETC, XRP, and XLM.
The SEC has also revealed around 50 (ICO) initial coin offering projects are seeking to launch. Five ICO portals plan to open for business and 20 crypto exchanges have applied for a license. Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand has green-lighted subsidiaries of commercial banks to engage in crypto activities.