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Actor’s family put under police microscope in high-profile money-laundering probe

Aug 15. 2018
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THE PARENTS of actor Jiratpisit Jaravijit, a suspect in a fraud and money-laundering case, may be joining their famous son in hot water over a Bt800 million bitcoin scam, as police consider applying for their arrest warrants over money-laundering charges.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commander Pol Maj-General Maitree Chimcherd said yes?terday that police were convinced of the parents’ alleged roles by money transaction documents the authorities found during a search of their house this week. 

Another five to six relatives and friends of the actor, who are believed to have received and forwarded the alleged ill-gotten money, would also face arrest warrants soon, Maitree said.

Maitree said the actor's elder sister, Suphitcha Jaravijit, 32, who had earlier yesterday morning surrendered to police at CSD head office in Bangkok, also made an admission to police dur?ing the seven-hour-long interrogation. 

Suphitcha was accused of co-operating with her family members in laundering money, which was allegedly obtained through cheating a Finnish man, Aarni Otava Saarimaa, out of bitcoin worth nearly Bt800 million. 

Maitree said Suphitcha, who was interviewed by police in the presence of her lawyer, hadadmitted to receiving money deposits on multiple occasions from her elder brother, Parinya Jaravijit, 35, who is also a suspect in the case and remains at large. Maitree said Suphitcha tearfully claimed she did not know the origin of the money and had nothing to do with the fraud. She said she just received the money deposits and withdrew an exact sum to wire to other accounts as per Parinya's instructions. 

She told police that Parinya also told her to use the cash to buy and resell properties and put the earnings into his bank account. 

She said she had not joined in the investment scheme, nor invited anyone to join it, Maitree said.

As Suphitcha was escorted at 2.30pm to apply for a criminal court’s approval for her first 12-day detention period, she did not respond to reporter’s questions outside the CSD building.

Her lawyer briefly said that his client denied any wrongdoing and that he would apply for her bail release with a surety worth Bt2 million. 

It was reported that police objected to Suphitcha being granted bail on the grounds that the case involved high-value damages and had attracted much public attention.

Jiratpisit, 27, who was granted a Bt2 million bail for temporary release, insisted on his innocence when talking to police investigators after his arrest on August 8. 

He claimed his bank account had been used by Parinya, whom police allege had opened several companies in Thailand and Hong Kong in connection with the case. 

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